SCP Auctions November 2010 Internet Auction
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
In any assessment of great sporting moments of the 20th Century, the fourth set tie break of the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen's Singles final between the defending champion Bjorn Borg of Sweden and John McEnroe of the USA has earned an unchallenged place.
Borg was then 24 and was playing in his fifth consecutive Wimbledon final having won the previous four. For McEnroe, this was his first appearance in the final at the age of 21 and he had justified his second seeding after defeating the former champion Jimmy Connors in the semi-finals. Borg dropped only two sets on the way to the final while McEnroe had lost three. The Championships had been marred by rain from the start, but Borg and McEnroe emerged on schedule to play the final. Within minutes of the first serve Borg and McEnroe had the spectators enthralled as the rich tapestry of the final began to unfold before them. The 1980 final began badly for Borg as McEnroe swept through the first set 6-1. McEnroe had chances to open up a lead of two sets to love until, in the twelfth game, Borg hit a trademark backhand return of serve, broke McEnroe for the first time, and suddenly the fires were burning on each side of the net. Borg took the third set to lead two sets to one with the final now almost two hours old. The match was demanding the best from each player and they were both ready for the challenge. And when Borg broke serve to lead 5-4 in the fourth set the contest began to look over. McEnroe then ran off six points in a row, each one demonstrating his commitment to the task. Soon, the fourth set tie break was a reality.
The Borg-McEnroe tie break was to make history. It was to range over 22 minutes, produce 34 contested points, which is a record for a Wimbledon final, and from start to finish produced moment after moment of changing fortunes.
Borg went for broke in the deciding set, hitting eighty per cent of his first serves and losing only three points on serve in the entire set. McEnroe contributed fully to this astonishing final and twice served to save the match. But Borg, cold-eyed in sight of a title, which would make him the first to win five in a row since the abolition of the Challenge Round, finally reached his eighth match point when McEnroe missed a low volley. A backhand passing shot ended it and Borg was Champion by 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6.
Offered here is Bjorn Borg’s racquet used in that epic 1980 Wimbledon final match and qualifying matches. The Donnay “Borg Pro” professional model racquet shows extensive usage wear including scuffing on the perimeter of the racquet head and on the leather wrapped handle. Borg’s name “Bjorn Borg” is written in ink at the top of the leather handle. The racquet strings are broken. The original Donnay “Borg Pro” head cover is included. Borg gave the racquet to Cy Jones along with an accompanying handwritten note that reads, “To Cye Glad to Give You The Tennis Racquet. Hope You Improve Yor Game. Bjorn Borg.” Also included are fifteen original 1980 Wimbledon wire photos from Jones’ personal collection, two of which show Borg using this identical racquet in the 1980 Wimbledon final match and two others that show him using it in the opening and quarter-final matches. One of the included images (using different racquet) is signed on the matte “To Cye Best Wishes Bjorn Borg.” In the field of tennis memorabilia, it is hard to imagine a more compelling object from the modern era, bolstered by unimpeachable direct player provenance.