from ATP Champions Tour.com
by Catherine Whitaker
John McEnroe has set up a final showdown against Stefan Edberg in the Kings of Tennis in Stockholm, despite having to retire mid-way through his final Group Stage match against Henri Leconte on Thursday evening.
McEnroe had been leading 5-4 in the first set tie-break against Frenchman Leconte when he began to experience neck spasms. The American fought on valiantly, clinching the first set and taking the second to another tie-break, despite the onslaught of winners that were springing from the Leconte racquet. McEnroe was forced to admit defeat after losing the second set tie-break however, retiring at one set a-piece when the pain became too much to bear.
'I don't know what happened, my neck just went into spasm. The trainer was great, he helped me there for a while but then it started to come back again,' said McEnroe after the match. 'Henri was playing unbelievable, it was a great match, it kept going back and forth, and we were out there for well over two hours. He was playing incredible and congratulations to him.'
By winning a set in the thrilling encounter with Leconte, McEnroe still secured his place in Friday's final. There he will meet Swedish hero Stefan Edberg, who defeated countryman Magnus Larsson 3-6, 6-4, 10-4 earlier in the day on Thursday to ensure he went one better than last year and qualified for the final.
'It's very true that I reached my goal by reaching the final here, I'm very happy,' said Edberg. 'I am very much looking forward to playing John in a final. The way he plays, the way he is, he was always a great challenge and playing him is still a big challenge nowadays. I am a little bit curious about how the match is going to be played out. I think it's pretty even stevens going into the final. I feel I have a chance but I know it's going to be really really hard. The crowd will be cheering for me though hopefully.'
McEnroe is optimistic about his chances of defending his Kings of Tennis title against Edberg on Friday, despite the injury he sustained against Leconte.
'I'm going to give it 100% and give it everything I can,' he said. 'I don't know what happened but hopefully tomorrow it'll be better. I think I just need more treatment and rest. I'm looking forward to tomorrow against Stefan though.'
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