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In "Epic," tennis writer Matthew Cronin takes you on an unforgettable journey back to the pivotal year of 1980 and the two landmark matches that transformed tennis from a quiet sport to a loud one, from a mostly European pastime to an American obsession, from the exclusive preserve of the country club elite to an everyman and everywoman's game. They also marked McEnroe's emergence as a superstar and the beginning of Borg's precipitous decline.
Cronin alternates crisp, thrilling accounts of the 1980 Borg/McEnroe showdowns at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, widely considered the two greatest tennis matches in history, with insightful excursions into the lives of these two great champions both on and off the court. You'll discover how Borg's long-time coach Lennart Bergelin cured the teenage Bjorn of some surprisingly McEnroe-like behavior and why McEnroe's coach Harry Hopman's attempt to tame his star pupil backfired completely. You'll also witness the serious locker-room consequences of McEnroe's on-court tantrums and find out why Borg sometimes felt that he had sacrificed too much in his quest for greatness.
Apart from their mutual love of tennis, the two men emerge as polar opposites: Borg, the "Ice Man," was a pure, vintage baseliner famous for the machinelike consistency of his game. His reserved, polite, and even modest behavior epitomized what many viewed as the finest traditions of tennis. "McBrat" was a slightly crazed serve-and-volleyer whose blistering outbursts against court officials offended traditionalists but whose passion for the game attracted millions of new fans to the sport.
Complete with a touching portrait of the friendship that developed between Borg and McEnroe and a heart-stopping re-creation of their unforgettable fourth-set tiebreaker at Wimbledon, "Epic" is must reading for anyone old enough to remember one of the greatest rivalries in sports history or young enough to have missed it.