In 1977, John McEnroe embraced his first Wimbledon campaign and turned it into an instant success, reaching the semi-final at 18 and losing to Jimmy Connors in four sets. The results were not that good in the next two years, and that all changed from 1980 when John rattled off five straight finals at the All England Club, lifting three titles. The first came in 1981 and the second two years later, dropping only one set during the 1983 campaign to conquer the most significant tennis tournament in style. Jimmy Connors defeated John in the final at Queen’s, but no one stopped the New York native at Wimbledon, facing four American rivals and an unexpected finalist. Ben Testerman fought well in the opening two sets in the first round before McEnroe moved on with a 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 victory. In the next encounter, Florin Segarceanu grabbed the opening set and ran out of steam after that, with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win for McEnroe, who had six foot faults and all kinds of tantrums en route to the third round.
Changing the serve position against Brad Gilbert, John lost only 13 points in 12 service games in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 triumph that propelled him into the last 16 where he faced a stern test in Bill Scanlon. After a great battle, McEnroe prevailed 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 to set the quarter-final meeting with Sandy Mayer, whom he ousted 6-3, 7-5, 6-0 for the place in the semis, delivering the tenth straight victory against Mayer. Again, the crowd could witness verbal exchanges and scary moments on the brink of a more significant incident, with McEnroe holding everything in his hands after a tight finish of the second set to arrange an anticipating clash with Ivan Lendl. The American delivered a fantastic serving performance against the Czech, fending off break points at 4-4 and 5-5 in the opening set and stealing the rival’s serve once in sets two and three to move into the final. Lendl served well in the first set, only to lose it 7-5 in the tie break, with the pressure on him.
John McEnroe claimed the second Wimbledon title in 1983.
John broke Ivan in the seventh game of the second set after the Czech’s costly double fault and again in the third game of set number three, serving well and sealing the deal with a hold at 5-4 to book the place in the title match. There, the unseeded Chris Lewis stood on the other side of the net on July 3, and John McEnroe would never miss such a chance, toppling world no. 91 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to earn the second Wimbledon title in big style. Before this Wimbledon, the 26-year-old New Zealander had scored 21 Major wins, changing that over a fortnight to become the finalist. Lewis passed three five-setter obstacles, including the giant server Kevin Curren in the semi-final that saw 150 service winners and a crazy battle that ended after three hours and 45 minutes, with Curren wasting a 3-0 lead in the fifth set! The title match was an anticlimax of that thrilling clash, with John dropping six games in a one-sided encounter that lasted for an hour and 25 minutes.
Lewis had nothing in the arsenal to confront the favorite, taking only nine points on the return and never looking like a serious contender. Dictating the action with booming serves, crafty volleys and measured smashes, John barely sprayed any unforced error, staying on a high level from start to finish and reducing his rival to under ten winners! The American had a clear advantage in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, imposing his strokes and firing from all cylinders to bring the match home in no time. McEnroe broke at love in the third game to start the engines and raced towards a 5-2 lead with another break in game seven thanks to a return winner. The American secured the opener with a forehand winner for 6-2 after 27 minutes. Lewis stayed in touch in the first four games of the second set before John placed another bullet from the forehand to move in front.
A smash winner sent the American 4-2 up, and he grabbed another break when Lewis sent a volley long and locked the set with another good hold for two sets to love lead in under an hour! Chris couldn’t do anything to change the course of the encounter, getting broken in the third game of the third set after McEnroe’s backhand winner before the American forged a 4-1 lead with another backhand winner. A service winner sent John closer to the finish line, and it was all done when he placed a backhand volley winner at 5-2 to celebrate the second Wimbledon title.