We Are A Tennis Town

A rivalry for the ages.

We saw a terrific movie last week: Borg vs. McEnroe which is On Demand.

The movie—which did little box office—has been called the first great tennis movie.

Truth is, there is a very little competition. I’m not sure there’s even a good tennis movie never mind a great one.

But Borg vs. McEnroe is really good.

The Swedish actor who plays Bjorn Borg looks eerily like him and while it takes a while to buy Shia Labeouf as Johnny Mac you quickly lose yourself in the story of Borg’s quest to win a fifth straight Wimbledon title.

He was all of 24 in 1980 but already burned out from having turned pro at 15. Bjorn’s son Leo, himself a top junior player, plays the young version of his dad. He’s terrific.

You quickly see the toll the sport has played on Bjorn’s emotional state. He’s depressed, exhausted and on the precipice of a big fall. He would leave the game at 26.

John McEnroe is the young, arrogant lion eager to topple Borg. He’s fire to Borg’s ice, although we learn that Bjorn is a lot more like McEnroe than we thought. Yes, he has a volcanic temper but he’s bottled it up and is paying a high price.

I’m writing about this wonderful era of tennis a day after the French Open finals only because there are many local ties to the legends of the game.

Bjorn Borg has played at the Delray Beach Tennis Stadium on a long defunct tour known as the Nuveen Champions. Jimmy Connors has played there as well both on the Nuveen and at the Chris Evert Pro Celebrity Classic. Guillermo Vilas, Andres Gomez, Ivan Lendl, Mat Wilander, Andy Roddick, Johan Kriek, Jim Courier, Aaron Krickstein, Serena and Venus Williams, Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, Kei Nishikori, Juan Martin Del Potro, Jennifer Capriati, Jimmy Arias, Mardy Fish, Lindsay Davenport have all played in Delray.

And of course, John McEnroe too.

We are many things, but we are also a tennis town.

Boca has a rich heritage as well with classic matches between legends of the game at Boca West, the Boca Resort and Club and the Polo Club.

Way back in the 80s and 90s, Delray hosted the junior version of the Davis Cup at the old Laver’s Resort. The greats of the game came through here as kids staying with local families. The Sunshine and Connolly Continental Cup were great events. Those of us who love the game would watch the young players and wonder which ones would be on Centre Court at Wimbledon in a few years. It turns out it was quite a few.

Over the years, we attracted tennis players as residents, academies (Rick Macci and others) and other junior, senior, Fed Cup and Davis Cup events. The Slims and of course our ATP event.

During the French Open, it was fun to follow our “Delray players” (those who play our event every year) as they made their way through the draw.

It was really thrilling to see local junior Cori “Coco” Gauff—remember that name—win the junior title.

Coco is the granddaughter of Yvonne and Red Odom. We wrote about her grandma a few weeks ago.

Yes, Delray has a tennis heritage.

The greats of the game have played here and now perhaps the future.

Keep your eyes on Coco and check out Borg vs. McEnroe to relive tennis’ golden age.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Good article and well researched. Yes, we are a tennis town! Most importantly, Delray Beach raises Champions in many sports!!!!

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