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By Nick Georgandis
Two legacies were altered in the final of the 1984 French Open. One began there, the other was left wanting of its final achievement.
John McEnroe entered the tournament as the de facto best player in the world, and had started the season with 36 straight victories.

Czechoslovakia's Ivan Lendl was a rock solid No. 2, but had yet to win a Grand Slam title, having lost in four major finals between 1981 and 1983. He was 26-5 to start the 1984 season, with three of those losses coming at McEnroe's hands.

McEnroe lost a single set in his first four rounds, the same number as third-seeded Jimmy Connors. Neither Lendl nor fourth-seeded Mats Wilander dropped a set in their first four matches.

Eight of the top nine seeds made the quarterfinals, with McEnroe and Connors each sweeping their opponent while Lendl needed four sets to edge out Andres Gomez, and Wilander five sets to defeat defending champion Yannick Noah.

In the semifinals, McEnroe handed Connors his first set loss, then his second and third in a convincing sweep. Lendl wiped out Wilander in similar fashion to set up a clash between the world No. 1 and 2 for the title.

McEnroe had never won the French Open title, piling up five Slams between the US Open and Wimbledon already. The Australian Open was not really on Big Mac's radar at that point in history. He had only first played it in 1983, reaching the semifinals, and would only make the trip down under five times in his 15-year career.

The American seemed on the cusp of adding the French Open title to his legacy as he dropped Lendl into a 6-3, 6-2 hole, but after so many failures, Lendl turned things around.

The Czech won the third set 6-4, then won two nail-biting sets 7-5 and 7-5 to rally for the title - ending McEnroe's win streak at 42, a start of the season mark that stands to this day.

McEnroe called the loss the most disappointing of his career years later in his autobiography. He would lose just two more times in the 1984 campaign, finishing 82-3 and winning both Wimbledon and the US Open.

But he never came close to winning Roland Garros again, and never won another Slam after 1984. 

For Lendl, the massive comeback opened the door to his untapped potential. He would win nine more Slams over the next six seasons, including seven between 1985-1987.