In a twisted way it was a tough period for the 23-year-old John McEnroe. He was the best player in the world for two years, defeating all opponents on a regular basis, except one year younger Ivan Lendl. The Czechoslovak had snapped in straight sets McEnroe’s 25-match winning streak in New York (US Open ’82 semifinal); afterwards McEnroe won 26 consecutive matches, only to be beaten by Lendl again in straight sets in the Madison Square Garden… Lendl took the opening two sets ‘6-4 6-4’ again, holding easily ten times. McEnroe had been able to impose his serve-and-volley style against majority of opponents, but Lendl’s returns and passing-shots were so effective that the American was afraid of attacking the net behind the second serve, however, he couldn’t beat Lendl from the baseline too. In January ’83, in that ‘Masters ’82’ final, McEnroe suffered seventh defeat in a row to Lendl (official tournaments), being able to win just one set in the process! Ultimately he managed to overcome the nightmarish streak two weeks later with the help of legendary Donald Budge…
Lendl’s route to his 32nd title:
Q Yannick Noah 6-4, 7-5
S Jimmy Connors 6-3, 6-1
W John McEnroe 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
The Masters ’82 was the first “Year End Championships” featuring 12 participants and the play-off formula.
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