Duels that Became Legends
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Duels that Became Legends

Björn Borg and John McEnroe left their mark on sporting history with their legendary duels. The Zurich Film Festival's opening film "Borg/McEnroe" throws light on the two tennis icons both on and off Center Court. Roger Federer, who has a similar rivalry nowadays with Rafael Nadal, was in Zurich to watch the premiere as a special guest.

The 13th Zurich Film Festival started on September 28th with this year's opening film "Borg/McEnroe," which depicts the sporting rivalry between two tennis legends of the 20th century, the Swede Björn Borg and John McEnroe from the US. The tennis thriller focuses on the Wimbledon final of July 5, 1980, in which the cool Swede and the quick-tempered American waged a merciless fight for the title.

Borg and McEnroe's on-court rivalry was so legendary that, in their heyday, they were household names for people who were otherwise not that interested in tennis. Their 14 duels contributed to turning tennis into a sport to thrill the masses. Today, decades after fighting it out on tennis courts around the world, the two are on friendly terms.

Eternal Duel

In this day and age, it is of course a different pair that makes similar tennis headlines: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The duel between the Swiss and the Spaniard is now entering its 14th year. To date, they've faced each other 37 times across the net. The rivalry at the highest level between Borg and McEnroe lasted a mere three years.

Tennis in a Team

With the newly founded Laver Cup, which was recently staged for the first time in Prague, tennis history has taken an interesting turn. For the first time in their lives, Federer and Nadal played next to rather than against each other – winning the doubles for Team Europe, to the delight of 17,000 spectators. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, the rivalry between Borg and McEnroe was temporarily rekindled: the Swede was captain of Team Europe, while the American coached Team World. In their roles as coaches, they were still true to the legend, once again being dubbed "fire versus ice."

When Legends Coach Legends

As a special guest, Roger Federer attended the opening night of the Zurich Film Festival and took time to answer a few questions. In the following video clip, he talks about his encounter with the tennis legends Borg and McEnroe at the Laver Cup, and what it means to him to be part of a team and to have played doubles with Rafael Nadal. He also reveals his objectives for the rest of 2017 – the year of his stunning comeback.

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