McEnroe relishes chance for back-to-back wins

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 October, 2000, 12:00am

US DAVIS Cup team captain John McEnroe, fresh from his Singapore title win, declared himself fit and ready for today's start of the Cathay Pacific Champions tournament at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The one-time 'Superbrat', a three-time Wimbledon champion and four-time US Open winner, defeated Iranian Mansour Bahrami 6-2, 6-2 to grab the silverware in Singapore and the 41-year-old left-handed American said he felt good enough to win consecutive titles in Hong Kong.

'I always enjoy playing in Hong Kong and coming here with a title under my belt gives me the confidence to do well. I'm ready for the challenge,' said McEnroe,who arrived yesterday for the four-day event.

McEnroe will renew his rivalry with five-time Wimbledon champion Bjorn Borg on Tuesday and McEnroe is expected to prevail just as he did in Singapore last week when he beat his old rival 7-6, 7-6.

Borg is competing in Hong Kong for the first time in two years. He missed last year's event because of injury and the Swede said he was looking forward to playing here again.

'Unfortunately, I was not able to come last year because I was recovering from a knee injury so it's great to come here to play,' said the 44-year-old Swede.

'Playing indoors will not present any problems for me. I played indoors in Singapore earlier this week so I think I should be okay.'

Kicking off today's play will be a match between Sweden's Mats Wilander and Bahrami, while Mikael Pernfors plays Frenchman Henri Leconte before Borg battles against American Jimmy Arias.

All eight tennis legends competing here arrived yesterday afternoon after the tournament in Singapore.

The players have been grouped into two pools, with the winner of each group contesting the final. Four matches will be featured on each of the first three days of competition, consisting of two tie-break sets. The singles and doubles finals are scheduled for Wednesday.

For the second straight year, the tournament is supporting a good cause, raising funds for the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) trust fund and charity for disabled children.