June 28, 2019
It all came down to doubles to determine whether Team USA or Team World would advance to the final of the Svaneholm Open to take on Team Sweden, led by Mats Wilander. And for a time, it appeared John McEnroe and Patrick McEnroe might let slip a healthy advantage.
But despite allowing Goran Ivanisevic and Mark Woodforde to recover from 1-5 to get back on serve, the McEnroe brothers battled through for a 6-4 victory, sending Team USA to the championship match.
“We got through. The goal was to play Sweden in the final, and that’s what we have got,” said John.
The legendary lefty was clutch when it mattered most, hitting a perfect volley down the line past Woodforde to close out the victory. “Glad John could hit the last shot,” Patrick said.
Earlier in the day, Ivanisevic gave Team World hope by beating Patrick McEnroe 7-6(3), 6-4.
“He kept saying he hasn’t played in a while, but to me he was playing great,” Ivanisevic said, before speaking about what it means to him to compete against John, which he later did in doubles. “John was my idol, and he still is. It’s an honour to play him.”
Meanwhile, Wilander closed out a 3-0 victory for Team Sweden against Team France by beating Henri Leconte 6-3, 6-4.
At 4-4 in the second set, it appeared Leconte may turn things around, but Wilander was able to come up with amazing passing shots and a drive volley to break before serving out his win.
“It was a great match. We have played each other so many times, and most of the time we know what the other player is doing,” Wilander said. “I think with Henri, I know what he doesn’t know.”
Now, Wilander and McEnroe, two all-time greats, will captain their teams against one another with the inaugural Svaneholm Open title on the line.
“It’s his court and it’s going to be tough,” John said. “We have had great battles, we’re great friends, there’s respect, but we’re going out there to battle.”