It was a year earlier, indoors in New Orleans, in only their third match against each other as pros (Borg was 22; McEnroe 20), when their relationship as opponents coalesced. They were in the third and deciding set (which McEnroe would eventually win), and it was close. As McEnroe has recounted, “I was getting all worked up and nutty.” At 5-5, Borg had had enough of McEnroe’s antics and motioned him to the net. McEnroe thought Borg was going to berate him. Instead, Borg put his arm around him and said: “It’s O.K. Just relax. It’s O.K. It’s a great match.” It was Johnny Mac’s satori. From then on it was different with Borg. As McEnroe once told an interviewer, “If we could keep lifting our games, I didn’t have to worry about the crowd or the linesmen or anything.”
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