July 12, 2024

Open Court


An epic in ’84 – Lendl v Mac

It was John McEnroe’s best chance to win Roland Garros – which would have helped him to the elusive career Grand Slam.

Then in his prime at 25, played Ivan Lendl in the 1984 final – which was also his only final in Paris. And he won the first two sets easily.

And then … it fell apart.

Here’s what it looked like.

Lendl won the French Open two more times after that, adding on two Australian Opens later in his career.

And if you didn’t think it turned his career around, consider this: prior to coming back and winning this one, Lendl had been in four Grand Slam finals and come out second every time.

Included in that were US Open finals in 1982, 1983 and 1984.

That 1984 final came after the breakthrough in Paris. But then he reached the US Open final three more years after that – and won all of them. He also reached three more French Open finals and won two of those.

As for McEnroe, he won the US Open that fall (getting his revenge over Lendl). It was a tremendous season for him, with 13 titles. But he never won another major.

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