Monday, May 24, 2010

Never Give Up, Part V - Björn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon

In any difficult enterprise, things can go wrong. 

When that happens, it's like a body blow that brings you to your knees. I've experienced this several times during the past 25 years. If it's happened to you, then you know that everything depends on not giving up. Persevere, and you keep the door open. Stay in the game, and you give yourself a chance to succeed.

I've learned this lesson vicariously, too, dozens of times as I witnessed astonishing examples of grit in sports. I've shared some of these stories in the past...

Never Give Up, Part I - Leonard and Hearns "Showdown" in 1981

Never Give Up, Part II - The NC State Wolfpack's 1983 National Championship

Never Give Up, Part III - The Boston Red Sox Win the 2004 World Series

Never Give Up, Part IV - Michael Jordan in the 1997 NBA Finals

Now, one from the world of pro tennis. One of the most amazing examples of an athlete who refused to quit was the 1980 Wimbledon final between Björn Borg and John McEnroe, often cited as the best Wimbledon final every played.

McEnroe started strong, winning the first set. But Borg won the next two sets and was about to win the third decisive set. He had McEnroe down 5-4, but McEnroe saved 5 match points to make it 5-5. Although Borg survived 6 set points, after a 22-minute tie-breaker McEnroe eventually won the set to even the match at two sets each. McEnroe's perseverance was a huge setback for Borg. Only one point from victory, now the match was even.

In the fifth set, McEnroe had stolen the momentum. He seemed to be cruising to victory, and he was about to break Borg's serve, 15-40.

But then it was Borg's turn to refuse to give up. He dug deep and reeled off 19 straight points on serve to win the set and the match, his fifth consecutive Wimbledon victory.

Never give up.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (License to use photo purchased from

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You know, anyone who would inspire people to never give up, ever, is an inspiration and to some a life saver, the only other thing they need is the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives, but my friend you are a blessing to me. Lord bless this man today.