McEnroe Tops Becker in Classic Match

March 3, 2003 09:40 AM

It was just like old times on Sunday night. Two former Wimbledon champions went at it in Greenville, SC, and John McEnroe and Boris Becker didn't disappoint. There were plenty of dropshots and putaway volleys to be had, and McEnroe even threw in a, "You cannot be serious!" for good measure. In the end, the 44-year-old McEnroe emerged with a hard-fought and very entertaining 7-6(8) 7-5 victory over the 35-year-old Becker.

Both players showed that while they may have lost a step, they still have some great tennis left in them. As expected, the match turned out to be a battle of Becker's pounding groundstrokes and McEnroe's touch and finesse. McEnroe won the first set in a tiebreaker, but Becker came storming back in the second set, taking a 3-0 lead. McEnroe, however, was not finished, as he fought his way back and took the second set 7-5. When asked about playing opponents who are younger than he is, McEnroe said, "It keeps me sharper and gives me a better idea of how much I have left and how much longer I can do it."

Both Becker and McEnroe played to the crowd marvellously. At one point, there was some confusion between the linesmen, so Becker gave one of them his racquet and told him to play while he (Becker) called the lines. Of course, the match just would not have been complete without a little disagreement between McEnroe and the chair umpire. McEnroe disputed several calls, but it was clearly all in fun. "People are usually disappointed if I don't yell at someone," he said. "I used to get fined for yelling at people. Now I get fined if I don't yell at them."