1988 U.S. OPEN [Extracts]


Peter Bodo

There was depth and texture to Flushing Meadow this year, and uncharacteristic resonances. Time and again, the Open provided classic pairings, meetings that were fraught with real or symbolic meaning, clashes that brimmed with irony or reflected bitter-sweet truths. There were stories everywhere...The most obvious one was 19-year-old Steffi Graf winning the Open over Gabriela Sabatini to wrap up the fourth leg of the Grand Slam...

Mats Wilander, by becoming the first Swede ever to win the U.S. Open, also completed a "Slam" of sorts - a Swedish one. With Wilander's title added to his Australian and French crowns, and Stefan Edberg's Wimbledon championship, the Swedes swept the year's Grand Slam events. Wilander did it by defeating three-time Open winner Ivan Lendl in a five-hour anxiety-attack of a final that showed fans that Lendl isn't the only fit player on the tour. The win made Wilander the first man to win three of the four major titles in the same year since Jimmy Connors achieved that feat in 1974...

Playing the Big Game without having any of the big shots is a problem Wilander had faced in his struggle to learn how to win on surfaces other than red clay. Wilander has mastered that art, as he proved with his marvelous win over Lendl in the final...It was only appropriate that Wilander, a charismatic man who has added so much tone and color and nuance to his game, should win the most appealing and colorful U.S. Open in years. A little trumpet fanfare, please.

(TENNIS, [December] 1988)