Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: the arms of a Swissie
Boom Boom Blasts Mac
by Laura Andriani
Saturday, September 7, 2002
Saturday started with a three-set battle between Sampras and Schalken. It continued with a four-setter between Hewitt and Agassi. But neither of these matches could compare with what took place Saturday evening. No, not Serena and Venus' match. We're talking about the match of the century, the battle of all ages. McEnroe vs. Becker.
The two players duked it out in a no-ad, two-set match in which the winner would have $50,000 donated to the charity of his choice. McEnroe was playing for his charity, The John McEnroe Foundation, and Becker was playing for the Laures Sports for Good Foundation.
Although the crowd in Ashe was buzzing about the outcome of the women's final later in the evening, many fans seemed more excited to watch these two veterans in action. Both players held their serves throughout the first set until the ninth game, when Becker finally broke McEnroe.McEnroe, serving upwards of 115-mph, hustled across the court to return many of Becker's pounding backhands and skilled drop shots. Becker, however, maintained fewer unforced errors, winning him the first set, 6-4.
Becker easily continued his momentum to take a quick 4-2 lead in the second set. The New York southpaw hung on to clinch the seventh game, closing his gap to just one game. McEnroe frequented the net often, but Becker responded with smashing passing shots and topspin lobs. McEnroe saved the set in the ninth game with a solid forehand that Becker returned long. At 5-5, an exhausted McEnroe missed a groundstroke, falling to the ground, as Becker prepared to close the set, with a 6-5 lead.
Serving for the match, Becker slammed a 112-mph serve into the corner of the service box that McEnroe barely got his racket on. The ball popped high in the air, bouncing long, and giving Becker the exhibition victory.
Among the fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium sat McEnroe's family, former Mayor of New York David Dinkins, Mike Wallace, Andy Rooney, Walter Cronkite, Hank Aaron, Matthew Perry, and Angie Harmon. Celebrities did some pre-partying at a cocktail bash on courts four and five before filing back into Ashe to catch the women's final.
The Tennis Refuge
You will be missed, Michel Kratochvil!