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Bad Boy McEnroe and Tennis Star-Turned Russian Politician Safin

Author:   |  September 24th, 2018

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Masters of yesteryear set for third edition of stellar annual tennis event in Marbella

Masters of yesteryear set for third edition of stellar annual tennis event in Marbella

John McEnroe turned to the umpire, glared and hollered, “Out! You can’t be serious?” It was classic McEnroe antics, the kind that had captivated and appalled tennis fans in equal measure for years…

Yet this was not the same “tennis brat” of the 1980s. The player “berating” the hapless umpire on this occasion was balding, silver-haired, in baggy shorts… and clearly playing to the crowd.

It was part of the performance: the show was the 2017 Senior Masters Cup, the venue Marbella’s Puerto Romano centre court, and McEnroe was a (relatively) mellowed 58-year-old. Way past his heyday but still the consummate showman… giving the fans what they had paid to see.

Of course, there was still a serious side to the extravaganza: the American was pitted against Carlos Moyá (17 years his junior) in the tournament final, and he held his own for most of the match before eventually succumbing 6-4, 6-4.

Along the way, seven times Grand Slam singles champion McEnroe and Moyá (whose only Grand Slam title came in the 1998 French Open) had beaten Mats Wilander and Francisco “Pato” Clavet in their respective semi-finals, with their rivals having advanced after defeating the other two stars of the show, Pat Cash and tournament host Albert Costa.

Moyá will be back to defend his title this week (28-29 September) but McEnroe, who also played in the first edition in 2016, will be absent.

SEP-24_03In his place, 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic will play against 2009 Australian Open winner Marat Safin in the first semi-final, and Moyá’s rival will be compatriot and 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero. Both matches are on Friday, while Saturday’s entertainment will begin with a doubles exhibition match pitting French stars of yesteryear Yannick Noah (1983 champion at Roland Garros) and Sébastien Grosjean against Costa (who won the 2002 French Open) paired with one of the losing semi-finalists.

Following the final later that Saturday night, holders of preferential and VIP tickets will be able to enjoy Yannick Noah’s traditional concert in the VIP lounge in his other guise as a singer.

Named after Marbella-based Spanish tennis legend Manolo Santana, the main court at Puente Romano Tennis Club has capacity for 2,500 spectators. Earlier this year it was the venue for the Davis Cup first-round tie between Spain and England – won 3-1 by the home country.

Swedish veteran Bjorn Borg presided over the club’s inauguration in 1979, while Boris Becker is just one of a diverse list of other top stars over the decades who have competed on its clay courts. More recently, Novak Djokavic has been a regular at the club, using its luxury amenities for off-season practice while also holidaying in Marbella with his family.

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