Tennis Hall of Famer Bjorn Borg will step in to replace fellow tennis legend Jimmy Connors to face long-time rival John McEnroe in a World TeamTennis match on July 14 at Sportime Randall’s Island. Borg and McEnroe will compete against each other that night when the defending Eastern Conference Champion New York Sportimes face the Philadelphia Freedoms. Connors is not be able to participate due to a knee injury.
The evening will be a special benefit for The Johnny Mac Tennis Project, with tickets sold by the Project to raise funds to provide scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area. Recipients will attend the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, which is completing its first year at Sportime Randall’s Island. Ticket prices for the match will be $250, $150 and $60; special VIP tickets are also available; please consult your tax advisor concerning the tax deductibility of ticket purchases. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 1-888-988-6921 or visit www.nysportimes.com.
This will be first WTT match in 17 years for Borg, who will be joining the Philadelphia Freedoms roster for the evening. Borg last played WTT for the Atlanta Thunder in 1994. Borg also played for the Cleveland Nets in 1977 and the Los Angeles Strings in 1993.
The storied rivalry between Borg and McEnroe was recently the subject of a documentary which also highlighted the legends’ contrasting personalities. The centerpiece of the brief but enthralling rivalry between McEnroe and Borg was the epic 1980 Wimbledon final, which included an 18-16 tiebreaker in the fourth set. McEnroe won the tiebreaker but it was Borg who captured the fifth set and his fifth straight Wimbledon.
Borg won 63 singles titles, including 11 Grand Slam Championships, and also added four pro career doubles titles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.
“We are elated that Bjorn answered John’s call to step in for Jimmy on what will be a fun and important night for tennis in New York,” said Claude Okin, Sportimes CEO. “The relationship that Bjorn and John haves very special. Theirs is truly one of the great rivalries in sports history, and seeing them both on court, in New York, next week will be a great treat for everyone there. And the funds we raise that night will be critical in helping us to assist talented young people in learning the great game of tennis in New York City.”
The July 14 WTT matchup will feature Borg and McEnroe competing against each other in men’s singles in the five set WTT coed team format. Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis will also play for the New York Sportimes that evening as McEnroe’s fellow team member.
In other 2011 WTT matches, the Sportimes will host the Boston Lobsters on July 6 with Martina Hingis leading the Sportimes squad; the Sportimes will take on the St. Louis Aces on July 11; the Springfield Lasers come to NYC on July 15, with John McEnroe and Martina Hingis playing for New York; Serena Williams of the Washington Kastles will battle Martina Hingis when the Sportimes host their Eastern Conference rivals on July 20. In addition to the home matches at the state-of-the art, 2,000 seat facility at SPORTIME Randall’s Island, the Sportimes will play two home matches in Albany, N.Y., at the SEFCU Arena: July 18 versus Kansas City starring the World No. 1 Bryan Brothers, and July 19 when the Sportimes take on the Washington Kastles featuring Serena Williams.