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HBO revisits Borg vs. McEnroe

Rafael Nadal's sixth French Open championship Sunday tied Bjorn Borg for the men's singles record there and got younger fans to thinking about the sublime Swede.

So will McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice,’’ the latest from the elves who crank out HBO sports documentaries every few months.

It is not among the most memorable entries in the series. But it does have its charms.

Chief among them is the sort of quirky archival video for which HBO is known, highlighted by footage of a bizarre press-room brawl at Wimbledon in 1981 between Charley Steiner and a British reporter.

The tennis video illustrates how much the game has changed: McEnroe seems to serve and volley on nearly every point.

Borg remains as enigmatic and unknowable as ever, which does not necessarily translate well on TV. Fortunately Douglaston’s own McEnroe remains the quirky, open book he always has been and is the inevitable star of this show, which premieres at 10 p.m. Saturday.

My recollection of their famous Wimbledon tiebreaker in 1980 is that I was working as a busboy at The Woodcrest Club in Syosset that summer, and everywhere I went there was a buzz as members watched on TV and talked about what was unfolding.

Even though I didn't watch it live, I knew what was going on every step of the way.

Tennis was much bigger in this country then than it is now, young readers.

Tags: HBO

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