Tennis

'Fire and ice': John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg

Published 0933 GMT (1733 HKT) July 8, 2016
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John McEnroe, left, was known for his powerful volleys and fiery on-court tantrums, while rival Bjorn Borg was his polar opposite -- with ice-cool demeanor and baseline domination. Getty Images
They played each other 14 times between 1978 and 1981, each winning seven times. AFP/Getty Images
Known as one of the world's best clay-courters, Borg (pictured in 1974) said he played "terribly" when he first practiced on grass for Wimbledon. Getty Images/File
But he soon conquered his difficulties -- in 1976 he began his five-year victory spree at the All England Club, winning the final against Romanian Ile Nastase. Tony Duffy/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images/file
Borg became a legend at Wimbledon, defeating Americans Jimmy Connors (1977-78) and Roscoe Tanner ('79) in successive finals. Getty Images/Allsport UK
In the 1980 Wimbledon final, McEnroe faced Borg in what is often described as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time. Steve Powell/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
After an agonizing 22-minute fourth-set tiebreak, Borg finally won the match 1-6 7-5 6-3 6-7 8-6. Bettmann Archive
The Swede became the first man to scoop his fifth Wimbledon trophy. "I came out as the winner, but for so many years (McEnroe) got a lot of respect from the world, media, from everyone about how he behaved and played in that particular match," Borg told Pat Cash. Rob Taggart/Central Press/Getty Images
As famous for his model looks and trademark headband as his tennis, Borg became a pinup for legions of fans. AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
McEnroe told the Telegraph that when he first joined the tour in 1978, he admired Borg and his horde of screaming girls outside the locker room. "I remember thinking, 'This guy looks so cool. I hope I can be a professional tennis player and experience something of what he is experiencing.'" Ian Showell/Hulton Archive/Getty
By 1981, McEnroe got his golden moment against his hero and rival in the Wimbledon final. Rob Taggart/Central Press/Getty Images/file
He defeated Borg 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-4, ending his unbeaten run. The Swede appeared relieved, and after McEnroe beat him once more at the U.S. Open final two months later, he never played another grand slam. tony duffy/getty images/file
Borg said McEnroe called him repeatedly asking him to reconsider his retirement -- he missed their rivalry. Later, in 2011, the pair teamed up to launch an underwear collection for the Bjorn Borg clothing brand. Julian Finney/Getty Images
In 1991 the "Ice Man" made a comeback at the Monaco Open in Monte Carlo. When all the other players were using modern graphite rackets, the Swede turned up with an old wooden one and lost in straight sets to Spain's Jordi Arrese. Simon Bruty/Getty Images
Speaking to CNN Open Court's Pat Cash in Stockholm, Borg appeared relaxed and happy. "During our time we didn't count (records) -- you know we could make so many, me, McEnroe, Connors. I was just thinking about playing tennis." Sophie Eastaugh/CNN
Borg is a big fan of Roger Federer, tipping him as one of the favorites to win Wimbledon 2016. "What Federer did for tennis, it's unbelievable. Up to this point, he's the greatest player that ever played the game." THOMAS COEX/AFP/AFP/Getty Images/file