A singles victory by John McEnroe salvaged some pride for the United States today as Sweden wrapped up the 1984 Davis Cup title by routing the U.S. team 4-1.
Sweden clinched the tennis event Monday when it took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-five matches competition. The defeat was the worst for the United States since 1973, when Australia won, 5-0, at Cleveland.
It was the first time McEnroe had lost in a final. Four times in the past six years, McEnroe led the United States to victory, the last time in 1982 in France on a similar but faster indoor clay court surface.
McEnroe, who was upset by Henrick Sundstrom in singles Sunday and lost for the first time in Davis Cup doubles Monday, today defeated Mats Wilander, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
"I wish I played like that two days ago," McEnroe said. "It surprised me how badly I played the first day...
"I think the conditions have something to do with it," he said, adding that the clay court did not suit his aggressive game.
McEnroe conceded a six-week layoff coming into the final hurt him. "Maybe I was not prepared nearly as much as I needed to be because I just assumed I would serve as I did today. It caught me off guard."
After McEnroe won, Sundstrom spoiled Jimmy Arias' Davis Cup debut with a 3-6, 8-6, 6-3 victory.
Arias replaced Jimmy Connors, who left Sweden earlier in the day to return hom, where his wife is expecting their second child. Connors played one singles match -- and lost it -- in the first Davis Cup final of his long career.
Today's "reverse singles" were shortened to best-of-three sets as Sweden had clinched the victory. McEnroe and Connors did not win a set Sunday in the first two singles matches, and McEnroe and Peter Fleming won only one set in the doubles.
McEnroe's victory today ended Wilander's 14-match winning streak in Davis Cup play.It was McEnroe's first victory over him on clay, the favorite surface in Wilander's early career.
"But this match wasn't that important for me," said Wilander, who defended his Austrian Open title on the grass courts in Melbourne before coming here. "It doesn't matter if we win 5-0 or 3-2. And losing the streak doesn't matter either."
It was just like an exhibition, and it showed at times, both players making many unforced errors.
"It's tough for both of us to play a match like this," McEnroe said. "But it does get into the record book. Maybe they shouldn't count it because it has no bearing."