McEnroe win draws crowds to Stockholm

The Superbrat is finally back playing tennis in Sweden after a lengthy absence. John McEnroe hooked up with Jonas Björkman in the Stockholm Open doubles tournament yesterday and showed no signs of having lost his touch.

McEnroe and Björkman needed just two short sets to see off Johan Landsberg and Andreas Vinciguerra, the latter coming on court immediately after a draining singles defeat.

The ageing star is the tournament’s main attraction by quite some distance. Rafael Nadal may be one of the world’s current top players but it was McEnroe who drew the largest crowd ever for a Stockholm Open game when he appeared on court late yesterday evening.

The Swedish tennis fraternity remembers well the heady days, twenty years ago and more, when McEnroe and local boy Björn Borg fought endless battles for supremacy tennis courts all over the world.

In two weeks’ time Borg and McEnroe will meet up in Dubai for one last match.

“There is an incredible excitement every time he and I meet on a tennis court. There is a tradition there and it is a classic encounter that audiences come to see with Wimbledon finals in mind. It is always very enjoyable, and not just for us,” Borg told TT.

McEnroe’s famous temperament once flared to boiling point in this very arena. Speaking to Biofile, the player recalls his reaction to a questionable line call in 1984:

“I went ballistic. Called the umpire a jerk. Whacked a ball into the stands. Then smacked a soda can with my racquet, and got soda all over the King of Sweden who was sitting in the front row.”

Scenes like these are not likely when McEnroe and his partner meet Todd Perry and Simon Aspelin in the next round.