2011 marks the thirty-first anniversary of one of the greatest tennis matches played. The 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemenâ€™s Final which pitted Bjorn Borg against John McEnroe was known for its drama including a fourth set tiebreak which McEnroe won 18-16, although Borg went on to win the five-set match and the title. HBO Sports examines the Borg-McEnroe rivalry in the new documentary â€“ McENROE/BORG: FIRE & ICE.
â€œBjorn Borg and John McEnroe are tennis royalty,â€ says Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports. Â â€œTheir rivalry was brief yet historic, and their individual life stories are fascinating and compelling. Â We hope to tell the full story of their rivalry and enduring friendship.â€
The project had been an idea for a while said Fire & Ice producer Margaret Grossi told Tennis Panorama News, “We pitch show ideas all the time and this one had been floating around for a little bit. Â Iâ€™m a big tennis fan, so I had a real interest in working on it and I think my boss, Ross Greenburg, just thought it was the right timeâ€”30+ years since their famous match, and this year is the 30th anniversary of Johnâ€™s first Wimbledon win.”
“We did the research for several months,â€œ said Rossi, “as is the case with all of our documentaries. Â Some of the footage was difficult to get a hold of but Helen Russell, our associate producer, did an incredible job tracking it down. Â She had to make calls to people all over the world to get the footage. Â I swear she has a Swedish accent now.â€œ
“Ross Greenburg approached McEnroe with the idea and he was willing to do it,â€œ stated Rossi, “and I think from there John was able to get his friend Bjorn on board. Â They really have been friends from early on in their careers and have great chemistry together.â€œ
Using some rarely seen photos and film footage HBO hits the bullseye in terms of examining their lives on and off the court, tennis careers and their all-too-short rivalry. It also examines the personal backgrounds of both men analyzing their personalities. The documentary is enhanced by interviews including Â Patrick McEnroe, Peter Fleming– McEnroeâ€™s doubles partner, journalists – Mike Lupica, Bud Collins, Charley Steiner, Peter Bodo, Malcolm Folley, Tim Adams, Lennart Eriksson, Â Tony Palafox – McEnroeâ€™s coach,Â Percy Rosberg– Borgâ€™s coach and former Wimbledon chair umpire George Grime.
Fire & Ice is a must see for not just fans of Borg and McEnroe but of tennis and its history.
McENROE/BORG: Â FIRE & ICE debuts Satuday, June 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), on HBO.
Other HBO playdates: Â June 11 (12:05 a.m.), 14 (9:00 a.m., 8:00 p.m.), 17 (7:00 p.m.), 18 (9:30 a.m.), 19 (12:30 p.m.), 23 (5:05 a.m.), 24 (12:30 p.m.), 26 (11:30 a.m.), 29 (5:00 p.m., 1:00 a.m.) and 30 (11:55 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Â June 12 (9:30 a.m., 10:00 p.m.), 20 (noon, 11:00 p.m.), 22 (7:30 a.m.) and 30 (11:00 a.m.)
HBO On Demand availability: Â June 13-July 4
The executive producers of McENROE/BORG: Â FIRE & ICE are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; producer, Margaret Grossi; interviewer and story editor, Mary Carillo; writer, Aaron Cohen; narrator, Liev Schreiber; editor, Jeff Reilly; music composed by Gary Lionelli.