“This was two alpha-males just going totally crazy,” is the way John McEnroe described his 14-year rivalry with fellow American Connors, and truer words were never spoken. The days of prim and proper manners on the tennis court were all but completely wiped out by the two volatile personalities, and Connors and McEnroe still remain of the most bombastic and entertaining characters to ever pick up racquets. A rogue who refused to join the ATP, and the original architect of the on-court temper tantrum, their matches were consistently peppered with arguments, disputed line calls, and even the occasional face-to-face confrontation. They met 34 times between 1977 and 1991 with Mac coming out on top 20-14. And although they only faced of in two Grand Slam finals, every time they crossed each other’s path was an event. They brought to the court a palpable level of intensity, skill, and relentless competitiveness that enthralled audiences and raised the bar for professional tennis. Epic five-set matches at the U.S. Open in ’80 and ’84 are some of the sport’s greatest.
I Challenge You to a Duel