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The Nemesis Of My Nemesis Is My Friend

The Nemesis Of My Nemesis Is My Friend

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by Federico Coppini

When Vitas Gerulaitis finally managed to beat Jimmy Connors after losing to him 16 consecutive times, he uttered one of the most famous statements in the history of sports: "Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row." The match was a round robin encounter at the 1979 Masters, and was contested at Madison Square Garden in New York.

After that, Gerulaitis beat Connors in five of their next seven meetings. Unfortunately, he never managed to get that monkey off his back when it came to Sweden’s Bjorn Borg. He lost to him 17 times in a row. These kinds of situations are always very strange.

For example, Adriano Panatta managed to beat Borg six times in his career. He lost nine times, but gave Borg headaches in each of those matches. Many people would argue that Gerulaitis was a better player than Panatta, so why did he struggle so much against Borg? These questions are, of course, largely unanswerable.

Gerulaitis was a quality player in every sense, having won the US Open in 1977 along with 25 other titles. Yet every time he faced Borg he looked like an amateur in comparison. There is, of course, a mental element to it. The more you lose to a player, the more convinced you become that you cannot beat him.

This eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. _______________ ** this is a part of the article you find in the Tennis World Magazine: issue 2
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