Which match was greater: Borg/McEnroe Wimb. 1980 or Roddick/El Aynaoui AO2003?

12-29-2003, 04:59 AM
A random question, but hopefully one which could generate interesting discussion.

Which was the greater match, and why?:

Borg def. McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(16), 8-6 (Wimbledon 1980 final)


Roddick def. El Aynaoui 4-6, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4, 21-19 (Australian Open 2003 quarterfinal)

Superlatives have been heaped on both of these matches. Interested to hear your opinions, especially those of you who have actually watched both! :)

12-29-2003, 05:02 AM
here's a recent article about the older match, to refresh people's memories! :)

Memorable Match: Borg-McEnroe Voted One Of BBC's Best Sports Moments

By Tennis Week
It spanned 30 points and several pressure-packed minutes and the mesmerizing shots produced by both players left spectators simply spellbound. More than two decades have passed since Bjorn Borg battled John McEnroe in the classic "Battle of 18-16", but the fourth-set of their epic 1980 Wimbledon final still resonates with sports fans around the world.

The mercurial McEnroe fought off five match points to win that tiebreaker (he saved seven match points in the fourth set overall), but Borg’s brilliance in the fifth set saw the stoic Swede earn a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(16), 8-6 victory to capture his fifth consecutive Wimbledon crown.

Many observers maintain their 1980 Wimbledon classic was one of the best Grand Slam finals in Open Era history. Now, the fourth-set tiebreaker has been recognized as the 19th most memorable sporting moment in history in the BBC’s poll to determine the 100 most memorable sporting moments.

The classic clash that produced the captivating tiebreaker was the highest-ranking tennis moment in the BBC poll, ahead of Boris Becker winning the Wimbledon title aged 17 in 53rd position, Pete Sampras's seventh Wimbledon title in 59th place, Martina Navratilova's ninth Wimbledon championship in 76th position, Virginia Wade's 1977 Wimbledon win in 77th place and Fred Perry's 1936 Wimbledon triumph in 97th position.

The McEnroe-Borg tiebreak had been in 21st place until McEnroe spoke to the BBC Radio Five Live Breakfast Show from the Delta Tour of Champions event in Monte Carlo (the Tamoil Legends of Monte Carlo) a month ago. It jumped two places in less than an hour as votes flooded in following McEnroe’s appearance.

In past interviews with Tennis Week.com, Borg has revealed so many fans are fixated on McEnroe’s match-point saving heroics in the fourth set, they often forget Borg came back to win the match.

"People come up to me quite often and say: ‘That tiebreak was incredible tennis. Amazing. You played so well, it’s a shame you lost it,’ " Borg said with a smile. "They remember that fourth-set tiebreaker so well that many people forget I came back to win the fifth. I never correct them. You know, people talk about focused I was to come back and win the fifth set, but walking to my chair after losing the fourth set tiebreaker, I was very, very disappointed. I thought I had just lost the match. It has to be one of the best matches I have ever played at Wimbledon. I thought after I lost the fourth set, I would lose the match. I was exhausted, especially after all those match points, but I didn’t give up."

The power of perseverance — combined with Borg’s highly underrated serve that saw him serve five love games and win 28 of the final 29 points on his serve in the fifth set — carried Borg to an unforgettable triumph in one of the most memorable matches in Grand Slam history.

McEnroe, who would go on to beat Borg in their rematch in the 1981 Wimbledon final, has told Tennis Week he gained more respect in that defeat than he had in any of his prior victories.

"The one thing people ask me about the most is that 1980 Wimbledon final with Borg," McEnroe said. "I remember taking that first set, 6-1, and thinking to myself, ‘I’ll be off the court in 90 minutes.’ I thought I’d win it in straight sets. He was an incredible player. We were opposites in so many ways and brought out the best in each other. The match showed me, and hopefully it showed a lot of other tennis players, that in losing it actually could elevate your status. And even if you are not necessarily the winner every time, if you are part of history like I felt we were there, it makes it OK. Being part of that match was perhaps the most exciting thing in my career. The vibrations and goodwill I get from people from that match are incredible. It is far and away my most talked about match. I am proud to be a part of it."

McEnroe himself selected Jesse Owens’ four Olympic gold medals won during Hitler’s reign in Berlin in 1936 as his most memorable sports moment. Owens’ Olympic triumph placed eighth in a list that was topped by the British football team’s 1966 World Cup victory.

12-29-2003, 05:06 AM
I was so flipping nervous during the Borg Mac match. I was so sure Borg was going to lose after that tiebreak. I mean the tiebreak was like a match in and of itself. But then when he won!! I guess that will always be the greatest match for me. It was also a contrast of styles and that makes for a more interesting match. Mac was charging the net at every opportunity, and Borg was threading the needle with his fabulous passing shots, but comming into the net as well. McEnroe was well behaved through the entire match. He never once acted up when he played Borg. It was scintilating tennis. :)

12-29-2003, 05:25 AM
I saw Borg/McEnroe match for the first time the other day it was just heartstopping tennis and i even knew the outcome of the match! Just when you thought the match was going a certain way one of them would just come up with an amazing point.

On the other hand the roddick/El Anyanoui match was brilliant. I mean that 5th set alone was a match within itself and it truly didnt feel like it was going to finish, you could feel how tired the players were but they just weren't giving up.

I'm going to have to go with the Borg/McEnroe match maybe its because i watched it more recently but it really had the feeling it was the clash of great rivals.

12-29-2003, 05:30 AM
I HAVEN'T SEEN THE bORG/ mcEnroe match, but i saw the El Anyoui/ Roddick match, so i'm not sure!

Action Jackson
12-29-2003, 05:33 AM
It would definitely be the Borg/Mac match, I was only a youngster at the time, but it was a fantastic match unlike star I wasn't nervous that Borg would lose.

One, Mac had plenty of respect for Borg, and two if he played up too much he knew it would give Borg too much of an advantage.

Both of men of contrasting personalities and games playing to their best of ability, plus the drama added even more to this match. It's such a contrast from grasscourt tennis then, to grasscourt tennis now.

Nearly everything about Borg was underrated and not just his serve.

12-29-2003, 05:40 AM
I would vote for Borg/McEnroe too. It was such amazing tennis, amazing drama, and an amazing scoreline.

But some of my reasons for picking that match don't have anything to do with the tennis itself. These are:

1. it was a final
2. it featured two very well-known players
3. contrasting personalities
4. borg was going for the fifth Wimby title in a row

If Roddick/El Aynaoui had been the Australian FINAL, it would be a closer call!

Chloe le Bopper
12-29-2003, 05:44 AM
Having never seen either (at least I'm honest... though this doesn't mean that I can' still have an opinion), I would still say Borg-McEnroe... it included two of the greatest players of all time in their greatest match (according to most of what I have read), in the final of at what was considered the greatest tournament.

No comparison.

Roddick-Younes was great for many reasons, but you just can't touch the Borg-Mac encounter, imo.

12-29-2003, 06:33 AM
Never saw more than 10 minutes of highlights from Borg/McEnroe, but I definitely have to say this match was more of a classic than El Aynaoui/Roddick. It was a grander setting and it featured a contrast in styles. Not to mention it was a record-breaking win for Bjorn.