Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe will renew their rivalry when they will square off for the first time in 10 years at a World TeamTennis (WTT) on July 14th at Sportime Stadium at Randall's Island as McEnroe's New York Sportimes will face Connors' Philadelphia Freedoms. Connors and McEnroe met 34 times during the ATP portion of their storied careers, with McEnroe leading the series 20-14. They spilt their Grand Slam singles finals matchups, with Connors winning at Wimbledon in 1982 (3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4), and with McEnroe prevailing in 1984 (6-1, 6-1, 6-2). They last met in an ATP event in Basel, Switzerland in 1991, with McEnroe winning 6-1, 6-3.
The evening will be a special benefit for The Johnny Mac Tennis Project, with tickets sold by the Project to raise funds to provide scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area. Recipients will attend the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, which is completing its first year at Sportime Randall’s Island. Tickets can be purchased by calling 212-792-8500.
“We are thrilled that our team captain Johnny Mac will get to renew one of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis when he competes against Jimmy Connors on this special WTT night for charitable purposes. I am sure that some sparks will fly, but the biggest winners on July 14 will be the young athletes who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the money that the Project raises,” said Claude Okin, chief executive officer of Sportime Clubs and the New York Sportimes WTT franchise. “In its heyday, their rivalry produced some of the greatest theater in professional sport, and we are sure this night will bring back lots of memories for all in attendance. This event will be a highlight of a 2011 season of World TeamTennis action here at Sportime in New York City and also in Albany, where we will play two home matches. This is all made possible through the Host Sponsorship of the USTA Eastern Section. It is going to be a great season!”
“It is always fun to play Jimmy, and I don’t think either of us has lost our competitive fire. We both love to put on a show, and in the WTT format, we should be able to turn back the clock a bit,” said McEnroe. “Anyone who knows me knows that I work hard to stay in shape and to try and compete well every time I step on a tennis court. But with the opening of my Academy at Sportime, my number one goal is to do my part to help grow American tennis and to make some great players right here in New York City. The match on July 14 is all about helping locals who have great talent but who otherwise could not afford the right training and support. And, of course, I do plan to get a couple of wins that night.”
The July 14 WTT matchup will feature Connors and McEnroe competing against each other in both men’s singles and men’s doubles in the five set WTT format. Former World number one-ranked Martina Hingis will also play for the New York Sportimes that evening as McEnroe’s fellow team member; they will be joined by former British numbr one-ranked player Katie O’Brien and Americans Robert Kendrick and Jesse Witten.
"I’m excited to be part of World TeamTennis again and to play against John in New York City,” said Connors. “There’s always something special about playing John, especially in front of a New York crowd. Add that to the intensity of a World TeamTennis match and it’s a great environment for both the players and the fans.