John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg

It’s easy to forget for all the focus on championships, but the real business of sport isn’t making winners, it’s making games. So we’re excited for this Saturday, when HBO rolls out their doc on one of the great tennis matches of all time, the 1980 Wimbledon final between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

Bjorn Borg

The doc is called Fire and Ice, after the classic contrast between McEnroe’s fiery tantrums and Borg’s glacial blankness. Strangely enough, McEnroe was likely having more fun during the match. Within three years, Borg was out of the game entirely while McEnroe only got more entwined in it, with his charity tournaments and commentator posts.

As the rivalry built through set after set, point after point, their personalities came to the fore. Borg withdrew into his training while McEnroe exploded—but neither one backed down. The result is some of the best tennis that’s ever been played. There’s a taste below:

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom