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Grudge Match

'Borg Vs. McEnroe' recreates 1980 showdown


Another classic tennis showdown is getting a Hollywood showcase.

"Borg Vs. McEnroe," opening today, revisits the buildup to perhaps the greatest Wimbledon final of all time, the grueling five-set showdown in 1980 between the ever-cool Swedish heartthrob Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and American hothead John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf).

"This fabulous, moody film isn't your typical jock flick," says one review. "It's less a tennis movie than a meditation on the personal costs of chasing excellence."

"LaBoeuf is good," notes Time Out, "but his performance is—ironically—desperately serious, as is the tone of this film."

The irony stems from the fact that this grudge match is also famous for an enraged McEnroe's heated confrontation with the referee. "You cannot be serious!" the Superbrat shouted, a line that has evolved into his signature catchphrase in commercials galore.

"Borg Vs. McEnroe" is coming out just six months after "The Battle of the Sexes," a rehash of the 1973 exhibition between 55-year-old male chauvinist Bobby Riggs and reigning Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King. Steve Carrell and Academy Award winner Emma Stone played the title roles.

Photo: Neon