John McEnroe successfully defended his Statoil Masters Tennis Legends title with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over old rival Mats Wilander in the final. McEnroe had been in fine form throughout the tournament at London’s Royal Albert Hall this week. He held a 7-6 lead in his head-to-head with Wilander from their days on the ATP World Tour, but since then the pair have shared many battles on the ATP Champions Tour.
“I have six titles here now and this one is as sweet as any of them,” said McEnroe after lifting the trophy. “Everyone sounds so surprised when they tell me how well I’m playing! I’m in good shape and I love being out here and winning. This place is like our Wimbledon.”
The tension was palpable at the start of the match inside the Royal Albert Hall. McEnroe soon calmed his nerves with a break of the Wilander serve, and the capacity crowd watch in awe as the 53-year-old served and volleyed his way to a 6-1 first set in under 25 minutes. Wilander rallied at the start of the second set, but the accuracy of McEnroe’s net play was too much, and the Swede was unable to make inroads on serve. McEnroe fittingly sealed victory, his sixth in total at the Statoil Masters Tennis, with a knifed backhand volley winner, immediately throwing his hands aloft in celebration.
“Mats is such a great player. You give him an inch and he’ll take a mile so I just knew I had to keep the pressure on and keep focused,” McEnroe said.
The victory is McEnroe’s second of 2012 on the ATP Champions Tour. The seven-time Grand Slam winner clinched the Stockholm Open title earlier in the year.