John McEnroe Wins 1980 U.S. Open – September 7, 1980
Defeats Bjorn Borg 7-6, 6-1, 6-7, 5-7, 6-4.
Ali and Frazier had their trilogy which culminated with the “Thrilla in Manilla” in 1975. Five years later John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg staged their own epic battles. Granted, it was tennis not boxing; but arguably just exciting, and well, maybe more athletic as well.
The first time they faced each other in a Grand Slam final was at Wiimbledon. The “Gentlemen’s Singles” (I said it wasn’t as bloody.) was played on July 5, 1980. Borg won it, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6. The 18-16 fourth set tie breaker is considered to be one of, if not the greatest moments in the history of tennis.
Borg was the undisputed King of the tennis world, at least in terms of the French Open and Wimbledon. He won the French in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979 and in 1980. 1980 also marked the fifth straight year that Borg won at Wimbledon.
The U.S. open was another story. He lost in the finals to Connors in 1976, and again in 1978.
In 1981 Borg defended his French Open title. It was Borg’s last Grand Slam victory. McEnroe finally ended Borg’s streak at Wimbledon, and then he beat him again at the U.S. Open.