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McEnroe Celebrates Return With Emphatic Win

Statoli Masters Tennis

McEnroe© Getty ImagesJohn McEnroe avenged his 2008 loss to Jeremy Bates.

Four years ago at the Royal Albert Hall, John McEnroe lost 11-9 in a final set Champions’ Tie-Break to Jeremy Bates, and decided that it was time to bow out of his favourite ATP Champions Tour event for good.

But on Thursday, at the Statoil Masters Tennis, McEnroe avenged his defeat to Bates 6-4, 6-1 and knew that he had made the right decision to return to the event, which now sees an older ‘Legends’ tournament alongside Pat Cash, Henri Leconte and Mats Wilander.

“It’s incredible to play here, it’s the best spot on the Tour, and I thought I was done (four years ago),” said McEnroe afterwards.

“A couple of years away gave me some perspective, my legs felt healthier to let me get back here again, and I hope I can lift something up - a cup or a trophy - at the end. If I can have a bit of fun, compete still, play like I think I can and serve like I did today, it’s going to be pretty tough to beat me.”

Elsewhere, Henri Leconte produced a fabulous display to defeat Pat Cash 6-3, 6-2. Leconte faces Wilander on Friday, with McEnroe up against Guy Forget.

In the ATP Champions Tour tournament, Thomas Enqvist surprised the 2010 champion Goran Ivanisevic. Enqvist won 7-6(6), 6-4. On Friday, former World No.1 and current South African Airways Rankings leader Carlos Moya will make his debut at the tournament. He will take on his closest challenger in the rankings, Mark Philippoussis.

Watson/Henman Team Up For Ladies Night Victory

Tim Henman carried the tennis hopes of a nation for more than a decade, and on Thursday night he joined forces with a young British player who is beginning to make waves of her own in the sport.

To mark Ladies Night at the Statoil Masters Tennis, Henman and British No.1 Heather Watson took on Mark Philippoussis and Anne Keothavong in a mixed doubles match. Henman and Watson triumphed 6-3, 6-4.

Tomorrow, Statoil Sponsored Watson will pass on her expertise to some of Britain’s young promising tennis players as part of Statoil’s ‘Heroes of Tomorrow’ initiative, which supports young people in sport, culture and education.

Tickets to the Statoil Masters Tennis in the Royal Albert Hall are now available, with prices from £17.50 per person. 

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