Former World no. 1 John McEnroe successfully defended his Legends title at the Statoil Masters with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Mats Wilander. It was a repeat of last year’s final, where McEnroe also emerged victorious.
“I’m figuring I have maybe one or two more years against Mats; he’s getting closer,” said McEnroe, who also defeated Wilander in last year’s final. “So next year it’ll probably go to a third set; that may be the time to hang it up. So that means I can come back one more time!”
The two had previously met 13 times on the ATP World Tour as were no strangers to each others respective games. The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion raced to a 3-0 lead over Wilander early in the opening set and would close out the set with a backhand on the Swede’s serve in the eighth game.
McEnroe managed an early lead in the second set, but squandered it to allow his fellow seven-time Grand Slam champion back into the match. After a few competitive games, the American once again took the lead in the eighth game, as he smashed a winner past the Swede for a 5-3 lead. While it appeared that the match was over, McEnroe lost concentration on his serve and threw one of his famous tantrums before closing out the match on Wilander’s serve.
“I was playing well. I was hitting the ball clean,” said McEnroe. “I got a little careless and Mats’ concentration is great so he takes advantage of some opportunities when they come up. I would have liked to have done a little better with the first serve. The percentage was a bit low for indoors. Other than that I feel like I was hitting the ball great and returning great, putting a lot of pressure on his serve. I was feeling good.”
Although disappointed with his performance today, Wilander was happy to participate in the Statoil Masters event and play three different matches with the likes of McEnroe and Bahrami.
“John is hitting the ball extremely well. He returns so well. I think that’s something that has maybe got better with age. It’s really hard to find a space in the service box that he doesn’t get to. He seems to read my serve and he’s just a little too good, especially on the big points.”
“It’s great to get three matches in here plus doubles with Mansour [Bahrami] and John [McEnroe] the other day. I think it’s John that said it’s our Wimbledon these days.”