I have mentioned The Monte Carlo Country Club fondly in many chapters as it was possibly Bjorn Borg's favourite tournament outside of the French Open and Wimbledon. The tournament belies belief as far as a spectacle is concerned , the view can sometimes be distracting, tennis takes a back seat to the ocean back drop.
Bjorn Borg officially retired in 1983 in February and decided to make Monte Carlo his last tournament appearance, his draw turned out to be a tough one. He drew the number 3 seed Argentinian Jose Luis Clerc first round but surprisingly destroyed Clerc in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. He earned the right to play a young Frenchman by the name of Henri Leconte, at the time a 19 year old but far from overawed.
There was a lot riding on the match as a Borg victory would have seen him take on his heir apparent , 1982 French Open Champion Mats Wilander , his fellow countryman. Wilander was only 17 at the time of his victory in Paris , only 18 in Monte Carlo, the match was sure to be a classic.
Leconte however had other ideas and after losing the opening set 4-6 he grew in confidence as the match wore on and prevailed in a nail biter 7-5, 7-6 in sets two and three. The tie breaker score from memory was 7-5.
Wilander was possibly relieved to not play his more famous Swedish mentor and he beat Leconte easily 7-5, 6-0 in the next round. Mats went on to win the title against American Mel Purcell 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, a title he would no doubt savor as it was not only his first victory in Monte Carlo but in the same year Borg hung up his racket for good.
That same year Wilander lost in the final of the French Open to Frenchman Yannick Noah who is the last Frenchman to win the title in Paris.
It was a sad year that Borg retired, just 26 years of age but with 5 Wimbledon titles and 6 French Open victories. If Borg had won the US Open his trophy collection would almost be complete but he lost in the final on 4 occasions. I will leave this chapter with some visions of Borg and Monte Carlo, the two for many years were like strawberries and ice cream at Wimbledon.......
The Great man Bjorn Borg , in this particular photo outside his Monte Carlo Sports Store, Legend....