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View Full Version : 1980 U.S. Open Final - Greatest Match Ever?


McEnroeisanartist
06-29-2006, 08:34 AM
After I just watched the 1980 U.S. Open Final, I couldn't help but ponder if I had just witnessed the greatest tennis match in history. Rarely in sport, does a contest with high expectations live up to its billing, but this match did and so much more. After the divine Borg won the French Open and Wimbledon, he came to the U.S. Open in hopes of achieving the immortal Grand Slam. The young, brash McEnroe was hoping to defend his hometown title. In the semifinals, Borg came from two sets down to defeat Johan Kriek, and McEnroe played an amazing epic that stretched for four hours and 17 minutes against his greatest rival, Jimmy Connors, winning 7-6 in the fifth set.

With a capacity crowd hoping for another classic, the #1 Seed (Borg) and #2 Seed (McEnroe) gave the fans a treat in the first set. With McEnroe charging constantly to the net, Borg passed him numerous times. Borg served for the 1st set, but lost it in a tie breaker. Deflated after such a blown opportunity, Borg played terribly in losing the 2nd set, 6-1. Battling fatigue, McEnroe's game dropped a little, while Borg found the range again on his passing shots, allowing the latter to win the 3rd and 4th sets, 7-6 and 7-5. After Borg hit another backhand return winner to win the 4th set, McEnroe looked as though his "body was going to fall off." In the 5th set, McEnroe would tap into his fiery soul and play courageous tennis. Hitting in amazing 60% of his first serves, McEnroe denied Borg any chance of breaking him. After McEnroe broke Borg in the all-important seventh game of the final set, it was up to the youngster to hold serve twice more. Borg, who had won his last 13 five set matches, suprisingly appeared defeated. One final angled forehand volley sealed the victory for McEnroe, as he won the match, 7-6, 6-1, 6-7, 5-7, 6-4, in four hours and 13 minutes. In becoming the first American to win the U.S. Open in consecutive years since Gonzalez in 1948-1949, McEnroe displayed the greatest amount of effort ever in tennis.

chiru
06-29-2006, 08:38 AM
i don't think its a grand slam if he didn't win the aussi open.

Moose Malloy
06-29-2006, 08:53 AM
i don't think its a grand slam if he didn't win the aussi open.

in those days no top player played the australian unless they had won the 3 earlier slams(australia was joke event then- played in poor stadium, with poor courts, poor timing(it started on Christmas!) poor prize money-imagine if a slam today offered less prize money than a masters series event)

so all the talk at the 1980 US Open was-"should all the tennis writers actually attend the Australian this year?" they were all waiting to see if Borg could pull off the US Open. Connors had said the previous times Borg won both French & W that should Borg win the US Open he would follow Borg "to the ends of the earth" in reference to playing Australia. Pretty funny but accurate-Australia was considered the ends of the earth by players then.

After I just watched the 1980 U.S. Open Final, I couldn't help but ponder if I had just witnessed the greatest tennis match in history. Rarely in sport, does a contest with high expectations live up to its billing, but this match did and so much more.

Exactly. This match had more hype than Nadal-Federer FO final & actually delivered on its promise.

Borg, who had won his last 13 five set matches,

an amazing stat. borg hadn't lost a 5 set match in a major since 1974! when he won the 4th everyone thought it was over for mac.

McEnroe displayed the greatest amount of effort ever in tennis.

I agree. So many threads about who had better competition, etc lately. Nothing Federer or Sampras has done compares to beating 2 of the best players ever back to back. The US Open makes men play semis & finals back to back. Mac had to beat Connors in 5 sets on a Saturday night. Then beat Borg in 5 sets the following afternoon. He beat two guys that won 8 & 11 majors in a 24 hour period. Unreal.

urban
06-29-2006, 09:20 AM
I agree, that the 'untrained' Mac showed extreme stamina, to go through this 10 hour ordeal. I think he beat Lendl in the quarters, quite tough draw. I remember from the distance, that the standard of play in the middle sets was not very high, Bord seemed to give up in the 2nd and partly in the 3rd, then surprisingly woke up. Nobody gave Mac a dime in the 5th, because of Borg's great, then unbeaten 5 set record. I also think, that the middle sets in the famous Wimbledon final 80 were not that good. From the distance, for consistent standard of play, the Mac-Lendl RG final 84 was imo the best. Contrary to common believe, Mac played very well even in the last sets he lost. It was close and classy to the end.

wimble10
07-06-2006, 04:59 PM
either that or Korda's win over Rios in the '98 Australian.

dmastous
07-06-2006, 05:01 PM
i don't think its a grand slam if he didn't win the aussi open.
Wasn't the Australian open played in December at that time. Had borg won the US Open he would have had a chance to win the slam by winning the AO.

newnuse
07-06-2006, 05:02 PM
I must say according to the board, the Federer vs Henman match at Wimbledon was the best ever

ktownva
07-06-2006, 07:25 PM
Ivanesivic/Rafter 2001 Wimby was the GOAT! I have never cried after a tennis match before or since (ok, I cry when I lose but that doesn't count).

TENNIS_IS_FUN
07-06-2006, 09:38 PM
How did you watch the match? did you download it? if so, please post a link.

bcaz
07-06-2006, 10:08 PM
Best ever? Many choices, but some mighty good ones not always mentioned -- Sampras over Agassi at the USO 2002 quarters in four sets, no service breaks, 10 unforced for Andre ... perhaps the best tennis ever played, if not the greatest match ... Rafter over Agassi, Wimby semi, 2001, 8-6 in the 5th, followed by his loss to Goran, 7-9 in 5th in the Monday final.