McEnroe and Connors renew rivalry

John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors won their second matches of the ATP Seniors' Honda Challenge at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday to set up a fascinating head-to-head meeting today.

John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors won their second matches of the ATP Seniors' Honda Challenge at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday to set up a fascinating head-to-head meeting today.

Connors' match with long-time rival McEnroe will be the first between the two Americans in Britain since McEnroe swept aside Connors in three sets to win the 1984 Wimbledon title.

McEnroe cruised past John Lloyd 6-3, 6-2, while Connors overcame Bjorn Borg 6-3, 4-6, with a deciding 10-8 tiebreaker, which is used in seniors' tennis instead of a third set. Although both have guaranteed places in tomorrow's semi-finals, there could still be fireworks even though McEnroe has so far not resorted to the tantrums that punctuated his career.

"I've got a few more days to go so there's plenty of time to work that out," he said, "but I don't feel like the crowd is clamouring for it quite yet." That might all change today.

"We know each other's game so well that we have to do something a little bit different to win now," Connors said.

"Borg comes in smartly behind your shots and it makes you have to hit better passing shots. So it comes down to one point here and one point there and today I hit the one good point."

Commenting on the reaction British fans have given him this week after a seven-and-a-half year absence, he added: "I like this atmosphere and the fans seem to really like it as well.

"They've watched me play for a long time and because of that they really get into it. If we can produce tennis today like we did back then it makes the atmosphere a whole lot better for everyone.

"The people have missed me. They've seen Borg, they've seen McEnroe - Bjorn went away for eight years and I'm sure he had the same feeling. It's a very nice feeling and I think the fans like the kind of tennis that we play."

Connors' first game in the tournament on Wednesday was against the former British No 1 John Lloyd, who he defeated 6-4, 7-5.

"Once I get out there it's always fun and I always enjoy playing John," Connors said. "We've been friends for a long time, we play a lot of tennis and golf and to play him over here like this adds to it."

Lloyd, who was brought into the singles event to replace the Australian Pat Cash, said: "I was pleased with my game. It was a throw back to playing Jimmy in the old days and I always used to play well against him. I haven't got a big serve and he could always return it so we played some good points."

The Frenchman Henri Leconte, neck and neck with McEnroe in the series' points standings going into the season-ending Honda tournament, beat his fellow Frenchman Yannick Noah 6-4, 6-4 to progress into the semi-finals, too. Leconte beat Britain's Jeremy Bates on Wednesday in straight sets.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on