Bjorn Borg was badly beaten today in his first match after an eight-year retirement, losing 6-2, 6-3 to Jordi Arrese in the opening round of the Monte Carlo Open.
The 34-year-old Borg showed his age and the limitations of his old- fashioned wooden racket.He made numerous unforced errors and constantly found himself on the defensive against Arrese, a 26-year-old Spaniard and clay-court expert specialist ranked No. 52 in the world.
Arrese, keeping Borg at bay with heavy topspin groundstrokes, was in control throughout the 75-minute match.
It was clear from the start that this was not the same dominating Borg who won 62 titles in his career, including the French Open six times and Wimbledon five times.
He looked the same - long blond hair, headband, two-handed backhand. But what was missing was the steadiness, the speed and the ability to hit winners.
Time after time, a long rally would conclude with Borg badly mis-hitting a backhand into the net or sailing a forehand way over the baseline.