US Open 1988
“Now they are starting at 15 and burnt out at 24” said Jimmy Connors on the upcoming generation of American players. It was a tournament marked by a tennis torch that passed from one generation to another: 16-year-old Michael Chang and two years older Andre Agassi made their biggest results at the time, fourth round and semifinal respectively. The statement about burning out paradoxically was not correct to them, but in relation to Mats Wilander, the US Open ’88 champion. The Swede had captured his first major title at the age of 17 (Roland Garros 1982) and seemed to be a certain successor of Bjorn Borg. Wilander couldn’t reach the No. 1 over the years despite winning another majors. His dreams of becoming the best in the world came to fruition at Flushing Meadows, in 1988, as he defeated Ivan Lendl avenging six straight defeats, in the longest US Open final (one minute longer than yesterday’s final between Murray and Djokovic). Wilander, only 24 at the time, was so fulfilled that lost his motivation, and never came back to a Grand Slam final.
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