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Old Jun 24th, 2014, 04:08 PM   #76
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Re: 1984

Still can't believe McEnroe ever landed a job as a TV commentator given his treatment of the camera/sound crews as a player.

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Monday, June 11, 1984
Associated Press

Ivan Lendl staged a remarkable comeback yesterday and outlasted John McEnroe, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5, to win the men's singles title at the French Open, his first victory in a Grand Slam tournament.

"I had to work hard for it, that's for sure," Lendl said after the 4-hour, 8-minute match on the sun-baked Center Court at Roland Garros Stadium.

"John was playing great in the first two sets. He was hitting corners and lines all the time," Lendl said. "Then I think he got a little tired. I was in better shape today and could run all day long."

When he left the court, however, Lendl began vomiting, apparently because of the mental and physical strain.

Lendl, ranked No. 2 in the world behind McEnroe, had reached the final of a Grand Slam event four times previously, losing to Jimmy Connors at the U.S. Open in 1982 and 1983, to Bjorn Borg here in 1981 and to Mats Wilander in last year's Australian Open. But this time, Lendl prevailed, crushing McEnroe's hopes of becoming the first American to win the French title since Tony Trabert in 1955.

"I'm very happy that I won my first Grand Slam tournament in Paris, and I will be back next year," Lendl told the crowd, which booed when McEnroe refused to take the microphone.

Earlier, women's singles champion Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver added the French doubles title to their championships at the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. They beat Hana Mandlikova of Czechoslovakia and Claudia Kohde of West Germany, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

It marked the first time that the same doubles team captured the four Grand Slam events. Navratilova also won the singles title at all four tournaments.

Asked to describe his feelings when he found himself two sets down, Lendl said: "I saw a glimmer of hope as soon as I broke his service for the first time in the match in the middle of the third set. He broke me back, but I felt that once I had broken him once, I could do it again. I just had to hang in there."

Three times in the opening set, McEnroe served an ace on game point. When he swept into a 4-0 lead at the start of the second set, breaking Lendl twice and serving two love games, the title looked as if it were his.

In the third game of the third set, McEnroe, who had never before survived the quarterfinals here, lost his patience with a television camera operator and grabbed the man's headset and threw it to the ground, as the crowd booed. McEnroe pulled out the game, but he went on to lose the set, and he suddenly looked vulnerable.

His big first serve, used to such deadly effect earlier in the match, began to fail. Lendl broke him twice in the fourth set and squared the match at 2-2.

As McEnroe grew increasingly frustrated with his service and overhit his approach shots, Lendl turned on the power, hitting a succession of devastating service returns and forehand and backhand passing shots.

At 3-3 in the final set, Lendl saved two break points, then held his serve at love the next time around. Suddenly McEnroe was serving at 4-5 to save the match.

McEnroe held for 5-5, but Lendl won another love game. Again McEnroe served to stay in the match, but he could not hold again. Lendl won on his second match point when McEnroe sent a volley wide.

Said McEnroe: "I had a lot of opportunities, a couple of times in the third set and three or four games in a row. I could have won all of them but ended up winning none.

"It's tough to serve on clay in a long match. But I just didn't serve well enough."

McEnroe said the crowd's support for Lendl, 24, undoubtedly helped his opponent.

"That's why it's so tough to be No. 1. I'm playing Lendl in France, and they are rooting for Lendl. It was kind of frustrating because I was playing well, but I should have been able to to put the match away in the fourth set.

"I got it (his intensity) to a really high level, and then I kind of leveled off and went down a bit."

"It feels great finally to answer different questions," Lendl told reporters, referring to the "choke" label he had carried after his previous Grand Slam failures. "I guess it's better just to win this tournament, but once you win, it's better to win against someone like McEnroe."

It was the first time Lendl had beaten McEnroe since January 1983 in the Volvo Masters at New York.

In terms of the number of games played, it was the longest final at Roland Garros Stadium since the introduction of tiebreakers in 1974.

Navratilova's victories in singles and doubles - and the $1 million bonus for winning the four Grand Slam singles titles - raised her career earnings to more than $8 million.
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Old Jun 24th, 2014, 04:12 PM   #77
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Re: 1984

Ira Berkow
June 12, 1984
new York Times

Serene John McEnroe had blown a point to Ivan Lendl in the third set of the French Open final Sunday morning (in Paris and on NBC-TV), and he reacted with the cool civility that has distinguished him.

''McEnroe, upset, is attacking the net-cord,'' reported Dick Enberg, the play-by-play announcer.

Indeed, McEnroe was hacking away at the net with his racquet.

''The net-cord,'' said Bud Collins, the color commentator, ''has never lost one of those battles.''

As it turned out, McEnroe lost two battles on Sunday, one to the net-cord, as predicted by Collins, and one to Lendl, as predicted by virtually no one.

There were at least two winners, however - Lendl and the spectators, including the television audience. The viewer certainly felt that way. It was a captivating match after a lopsided start, with McEnroe comfortably ahead midway into the third set, and a sweet video presentation.

The viewer enjoys the mature, literate professionalism of Enberg, and the humor and genuine enthusiasm for the sport conveyed by Collins. A pleasurable doubles team.

A few questions were raised in the viewer's mind, however. One concerned the opening interview with Tony Trabert, who in 1955 was the last American male to win the French title. He spoke about McEnroe's temper tantrums and how they were perhaps done on purpose ''to relieve the tension'' of the match.

A few years ago, in The New York Times Magazine, Collins wrote about McEnroe and quoted him as having said that he never threw a tantrum when playing Bjorn Borg because he had to conserve all his energy for the battle with the stoic Swede.

In fact, McEnroe's behavior was unrestrained early in the match, but by the fourth and fifth sets, when he protested, he did it ''rather calmly,'' as Enberg noted.

Like to have heard Collins's views on that. Was John conserving energy? Did his earlier outbursts cost him vigor on this emotionally draining afternoon?

There is an integrity in reporting with Collins and Enberg. When Lendl was down, 3-6, 2-6, 1-3, Enberg said, ''One of the knocks on Lendl is that he gets into a situation like this and he sinks back on his heels.'' Translation: he folds.

Shortly after, Enberg added, ''Not much drama at this stage.''

As Lendl made his spectacular comeback, the announcers pointed out that McEnroe was ''a tired athlete,'' and that when he fell or eyed a clunky cameraman, he was ''buying time.''

After a game but not when switching sides, McEnroe went to the sidelines to freshen up by throwing water on himself. Collins pointed out that the rules allowed only 30 seconds in the halting of play.

''Do you have your stop-watch, it's more than 30 seconds,'' said Collins.

''Why don't they call it?'' asked Enberg, about penalizing McEnroe.

Good question, but no answer. The viewer was characteristically baffled.

The reporting, though, was generally solid during the match and even after, when we were informed that Lendl had been vomiting because he had been so exhausted from his triumph.

Another superb spectacle has been the National Basketball Association championship playoff series on CBS. Dick Stockton and Tom Heinsohn as commentators are fine.

The viewer, though, can't let it go at that, of course. On occasion, Stockton will mint a cliche, such as ''not to be denied'' and ''pull out all the stops.'' But Stockton knows a good pass when he sees it - the connoisseur listens for such perceptions - and he asks relevant questions of the former coach and player at his side.

The viewer's favorite play was missed visually by Heinsohn (he said his veiw had been blocked) and, it seems, esthetically by Stockton. It happens. The play occurred in the fourth game in Los Angeles. The ball bounced into the stands and into the hands of a spectator. It looked fairly clear on television that it was Los Angeles's ball. But Larry Bird, that rara avis, came flying across the court and snatched the ball from the stunned spectator before the Laker player could get it.

Stockton: ''Bird thinks it's his ball.''

But when the referee took the ball out of Bird's hands and gave it to the Laker, there was no chirp of dissent from the aviary.

What Bird had done was keep the Los Angeles player from starting a fast break, the thing the Lakers had been doing routinely to flatten the Celtics. The move was Exhibit A of how, even when in the stands, Bird plays basketball the old-fashioned way: he thinks.

The viewer also had a favorite camera shot: focus on Laker bench with several players burying their heads, unable to watch James Worthy and Magic Johnson shoot critical, last- second free throws.

Catching Up: Two Friday nights ago on WNEW-TV, Bill Mazer and Al Bernstein did an excellent job of broadcasting the Johnny Bumphus- Gene Hatcher World Boxing Association junior-welterweight championship fight and the Ray Mancini-Livingstone Bramble W.B.A. lightweight championship tussle. When Mancini was cut by a butt early in the fight, and there was a question about his continuing, Bernstein knew the rules about an accidental and an intentional butt, and filled in the viewers immediately.

Mazer, known to some as Amazin' Mazer because of his profound grasp of sports trivia, nicely gave historical backdrop during the bouts. He compared Mancini's style to the bob and weave of its most famous practitioner, Jack Dempsey, and he recalled how the cut-bloodied Sugar Ray Robinson some 30 years ago came back to defeat Randy Turpin for the middleweight title.

Friday's first bout was won by the challenger Hatcher. Several times after that, Mazur, not averse to plugging the promoter, hailed the evening as the ''Katz Sports Night of Upsets.'' He spoke plural when there had been only singular. Mancini then went out and lost his title, too, and corrected the error.
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