ibnlive » Sports

Oct 13, 2006 at 09:04pm IST

McEnroe makes winning return to tennis

Stockholm: John McEnroe returned to the Royal Tennis Hall, 21 years after his fourth and last singles title in the Swedish capital, and teamed with Jonas Bjorkman to beat Andreas Vinciguerra and Johan Landsberg 6-3, 6-2 in the first-round match at the Stockholm Open.

"It's nice to be back," said McEnroe, who first played Bjorn Borg in the small structure built in the 1930s that is the oldest arena built for tennis on the ATP Tour.

"Obviously, he was the greatest rival I've ever had. I remember the noise the people made with their feet," McEnroe said. "But I don't remember people throwing stuff, that's a new one."

MERCURIAL MAC: John McEnroe was cheered on by fans as well as his long-time rival, Bjorn Borg.

He was referring to several fans who threw seat cushions onto the court after the match.

"It was surprising, a little disappointing actually to see that. I don't know what was going on. It was sort of weird," he said. "I don't know what they were thinking."

The 47-year-old McEnroe received a standing ovation when he came in for warmups, and the record crowd of 4,863 gave him another standing ovation after the match.

McEnroe's serve was never broken, but faced two break points. He saved both. With Bjorkman serving, McEnroe won his first point with an easy overhead. He also forced the Swedish opponents to miss the last point of the game after a long rally.

The match drew a sellout crowd despite starting late in the evening. Among those watching were Borg, a five-time Wimbledon champion, and Stefan Edberg, another Hall of Famer who is the only player along with McEnroe to top both singles and doubles rankings in ATP history.