Fever-pitch in Budapest as Borg/McEnroe arrive

As the BlackRock Tour of Champions rolls into Budapest this week for the city’s first ever Tennis Classics event, Bjorn Borg will get the chance to avenge his  defeat to long-time rival John McEnroe, who stole victory from under his nose when the pair met in Luxembourg only two weeks ago.

When the pair attended a press conference with Group A rivals Goran Ivanisevic, Pat Cash and the rest of the eight-man field in Budapest on Wednesday, 130 journalists and 30 photographers greeted them.

Borg/McEnroe rivalry –


Staged in a lavish banquet hall with meals served from a silver platter, it was quite a spectacle. Anticipation ahead of the country’s first ever sight of McEnroe and Borg is at fever-pitch. The tournament has been organised by promoter and former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion Balazs Taroczy, and no stone has been left unturned. Taroczy and his team have promoted the event throughout the year and everywhere you go around the city of Budapest the Tennis Classics event is being talked about.

McEnroe and Borg have again been drawn into the same Group this week in Budapest so  on Friday evening the duo are scheduled to meet for the latest installment of the most famous rivalry in tennis history. At the first Vivium Victory Challenge in Luxembourg two weeks ago, Borg led by a set and 3-0 before a fired-up McEnroe came back to clinch the match in a Champions’ Tie-Break.

McEnroe and Borg are joined in Group A by former Wimbledon Champions Cash and Ivanisevic. On Sunday, Ivanisevic leap-frogged Marcelo Rios to take over the top spot in the South African Airways Rankings after collecting 250 points for finishing runner-up  in the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven last week. The Croatian will play Borg in his first match on Thursday, while Cash is due to meet McEnroe with whom he has enjoyed a fierce rivalry on the BlackRock Tour of Champions. The last time the two men met was at the 2007 BlackRock Masters Tennis in London where the American turned around a break deficit to edge an extremely closely fought encounter 7-5, 6-2.

Group B is comprised of former French Open champions Thomas Muster, Sergi Bruguera,  Guillermo Vilas and finalist Henri Leconte. Vilas will play his first match of the tournament on Thursday against Bruguera, while Muster and Leconte will also clash at the 4500 capacity Budapest Sportarena.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.  After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday’s final.

Last week, Richard Krajicek beat Goran Ivanisevic in a thrilling final to win his first ever BlackRock Tour of Champions Title at the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven.

In the final event of the year, Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg will take on McEnroe and Ivanisevic in an eight-man field at the BlackRock Masters Tennis in London, December 2-7.