The Wimbledon final in 1980 is still considered the greatest match ever played. In this final 24 year old Björn Borg beat his closest rival the younger John McEnroe after an intense match. The year after McEnroe took over Borg’s No. 1 ranking and it became the beginning of the end for the Swede.
In 1983 he announced his retirement during an exhibition game in Bangkok.
“I lost my motivation that year (1981). But I still haven’t regretted retiring at that age,” Björn Borg says.
The two tennis legends have been touring Asia for a few weeks playing three matches against each other.
“I won Kuala Lumpur and Björn won in Macau, so this match will decide who of us is the best tennis player in Asia,” McEnroe said jokingly before the match in Bangkok.
The match wasn’t as tense as when the two legends met in their youths. Instead they now made an effort to give the audience a good time and put on a show for them. Especially McEnroe who is famous for his temper pretended to be angry every time the judge sentenced in favour of Borg.
After two sets McEnroe had won the match 7-6, 7-5. Even so there seemed to be no bad feelings between the two tennis players.
“Playing John is special. It always has been and it always will be. I enjoy walking into the same court as John,” says Borg and McEnroe adds:
“My game has lifted because of matches played against Björn.”
Enjoy the game
Björn Borg still plays tennis almost every day at his home back in Stockholm. His advice to young tennis players is:
“It is important that you really enjoy playing tennis. It’s a long way to become a professional and you have to make a lot of sacrifices.”
There is no doubt that Borg and McEnroe still enjoy the game and remember their youths being two of the greatest tennis players with pleasure.
“Sometimes we talk about the matches, me and John, and I think we both remember every point of each match,” Borg says.
“We still talk a lot about that match in 1980.”