Wimbledon Flashback: John McEnroe storms over Chris Lewis and lifts trophy
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3140
In 1977, John McEnroe competed at Wimbledon for the first time and turned it into an instant success. A teenager reached the semi-final and lost to Jimmy Connors in four sets. The results were not that good in the next two years, which changed from 1980.
John rattled off five straight finals at the All England Club and lifted three titles. The first came in 1981 and the second two years later, dropping only one set during that 1983 campaign to conquer the most significant tennis tournament in style.
Jimmy Connors defeated John in the final at Queen's a few weeks earlier. Still, no one was to stop the New York native at Wimbledon, facing four American rivals and an unexpected finalist. Ben Testerman fought well in the opening two sets in the first round before McEnroe moved on with a 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 victory.
In the next encounter, Florin Segarceanu grabbed the opening set and ran out of steam after that, as John scored a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win after six foot faults and all kinds of tantrums. Changing the serve position against Brad Gilbert, John lost just 13 points in 12 service games in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 triumph that propelled him into the last 16, where he faced a stern test in Bill Scanlon.
After a great battle, McEnroe prevailed 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 to set the quarter-final meeting with Sandy Mayer. He ousted him 6-3, 7-5, 6-0 for a place in the semis, delivering his tenth win in as many matches against Mayer. Again, the crowd could witness verbal exchanges and some scary moments on the brink of a more significant incident.
Nonetheless, John had everything in his hands after a tight closure of the second set to set an anticipating clash with Ivan Lendl. The American delivered a fantastic serving performance against the Czech, fending off break points at 4-4 and 5-5 in the opening set and stealing the rival's serve once in sets two and three to move into the final.
Lendl served well in the first set, only to lose it 7-5 in the tie break, with the pressure being on him all the time in the rest of the encounter.
John McEnroe claimed the second Wimbledon crown in 1983.
John broke Ivan in the second set's seventh game after a costly double fault.
The American grabbed another break in the third set's third game, served well and sealed the deal with a hold in game ten for a place in the title match. An unseeded Chris Lewis stood on the other side of the net on July 3, and McEnroe would have never missed such a chance!
He toppled world no. 91 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to earn the second Wimbledon title in big style. Before this Wimbledon, the 26-year-old New Zealander had scored 21 Major wins without notable results. He changed that during the fortnight to become a surprising Major finalist.
Lewis passed three five-setter obstacles, including the giant server Kevin Curren in the semi-final. That encounter saw 150 service winners and a crazy battle that ended after three hours and 45 minutes, with Curren wasting a 3-0 lead in the fifth set.
The title match was an anticlimax of that thrilling clash, with John dropping six games in a one-sided encounter that lasted an hour and 25 minutes. Lewis had nothing in the arsenal to confront the favorite, taking only nine points on the return and never looking like a serious contender.
Dictating the pace with booming serves, crafty volleys and measured smashes, John barely sprayed an unforced error. He stayed on a high level from start to finish and reduced his rival to less than ten winners! The American had a clear advantage in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, imposing his shots and firing from all cylinders to bring the match home in no time and celebrate the title.
McEnroe broke at love in the opener's third game to fire up his engines. He raced into a 5-2 lead with another break in game seven after a return winner and secured the set with a forehand winner in the next one for 6-2 in swift 27 minutes.
Lewis stayed in touch in the second set's opening four games before John placed another bullet from his forehand to grab a break and move in front. A smash winner sent the American 4-2 up, and he delivered another break a few minutes later when Lewis sent a volley long.
John locked the set with another good hold in game eight for two sets to love advantage in under an hour! Chris could not do anything to change the course of the match, getting broken in the third set's third game after John's backhand winner.
McEnroe forged a 4-1 lead with another backhand winner and marched toward the title. A service winner sent the American closer to the finish line in game six, and it was all over when he placed a backhand volley winner at 5-2 to celebrate the second Wimbledon title.