Bjorn Borg bid farewell to tennis yesterday by losing a hard-fought decision to Jimmy Connors, his toughest rival during a decade of dominance in the game.
Connors, 30, played inspired and near-perfect tennis in beating the 26-year-old Borg, 6-3, 6-4, in the championship of the four-man, $250,000 Suntory Cup tournament in Tokyo.
It was a bittersweet finale for the five-time Wimbledon, six-time French Open winner. There was adulation, from 14,700 cheering Japanese fans, and frustration, from losing to the man he had once supplanted as the best in the game.
"Borg had more pressure on him than I did today," said Connors. "Because it was his last match he wanted it badly."
In a "farewell ceremony" after the match, Borg said, "In the last 10 years, I really enjoyed myself. I don't regret anything. I was very successful in tennis and hope to be as successful in life in the future."
Connors received $110,000, while Borg received $70,000 . . .
Top-seed Martina Navratilova overcame some early problems with her serve to take a 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 victory over Tracy Austin to win the Family Circle Cup in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Navratilova wasn't able to hold her own serve until the second game of the second set.
But from that point, she allowed the third-seeded Austin to win but one game the rest of the match. Navratilova won $34,000, Austin $17,000 . . .
Top-seeded Ivan Lendl played almost flawlessly and took advantage of 36 forehand errors by Australian Paul McNamee for a 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 victory to become the first player in 21 years to win back-to-back titles in the $300,000 River Oaks international in Houston.
Lendl, who earned $100,000, never has lost a match at River Oaks since he won his first major championship in 1980.