Borg to Play First Match in U.S. in 10 Years
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Bjorn Borg, the iconic Swedish tennis legend who won five straight Wimbledon men’s singles titles from 1976 to 1980, will play his first tennis match in the United States in 10 years Thursday as he kicks off play at the $150,000 Staples Champions Cup, the fifth-year Champions Series tennis event at the Agganis Arena in Boston.
Borg will face fellow Swede Mikael Pernfors at 7 pm on Thursday, April 29 to begin the opening session of the four-day event. The elite, eight-player, single knock-out tournament also features John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Mats Wilander, Mark Philippoussis, Wayne Ferreira and Jimmy Arias. The tournament has been played in Boston since 2006 and is title-sponsored for the first time this year by Staples, the world’s largest office products company based in Framingham, Mass.
Borg last competed in a tournament in the United States in 2000, but has competed in numerous events and exhibitions elsewhere around the world. He is best known for his five consecutive Wimbledon titles from 1976-1980 and his six French Open titles won from 1974 to 1981. In 2010, tennis fans will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his epic duels with McEnroe in the finals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, the Wimbledon final being regarded by some observers as the greatest match of all-time. Borg was able to win his fifth-straight title at the All England Club and stave off McEnroe, playing in his first Wimbledon final, by a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6 margin, highlighted by the famous 18-16 fourth-set tie-breaker. The two rivals could meet again Saturday night in the semifinals in Boston if Borg defeats Pernfors and McEnroe defeats Wilander in the quarterfinals.
McEnroe was a singles finalist in Boston in 2009, losing to Pete Sampras 7-6 (10), 6-4 one day before his 50th birthday. He won the title in 2008, defeating Aaron Krickstein in the final, and was a finalist in the inaugural event in 2006, losing to Todd Martin. Sampras also won the title in 2007, defeating Martin in the final.
The Staples Champions Cup is part of the global Champions Series tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. To be eligible to compete, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. Each event features $150,000 in prize money - with the tournament champion earning $60,000 - and ranking points that determine the year-end No. 1. Each tournament champion earns 800 ranking points. Courier finished the 2009 season as the top-ranked player on the series, followed by Sampras and Martin.
Former French Open semifinalist Fernando Meligeni of Brazil was the surprise winner of the opening event on the 2010 Champions Series, winning the title in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Philippoussis in the final.
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InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series tennis circuit, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events, corporate outings and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2009, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to InsideOutSE.com or ChampionsSeriesTennis.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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