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McEnroe defeats Pioline for Frankfort titleJohn McEnroe produced a stunning performance to dismiss Cedric Pioline 6-2, 6-4 in the final of the first Delta Tour of Champions event of the year in Frankfurt.McEnroe, who turned 46 earlier this month, paraded his full repertoire of skills in front of a captivated crowd at the Ballsporthalle.He raced to a 4-0 lead in the first set, and despite losing his serve at the start of the second, he retrieved the break in a marathon third game and never looked back.“Today was nice because not only did I play great but I felt good on the court,” said McEnroe.“When that happens you make the most of it because it doesn’t happen that often any more! Cedric came out of a very tough group where they were beating up on each other, and the goal for me was to peak for the last day or two. The last couple of months I’ve been working out hard so that I could do that.”The American moved to the top of the Stanford Financial Champions Tour Rankings and stole a march on his rivals on the Road to London, November 29 – December 4.Afterwards, he earmarked the Masters at the Royal Albert Hall, where he lost 7-5, 7-5 to eventual champion Jim Courier in the semifinals last year, as the big one for the season.“The goal for me is to go all the way but it’s going to be very difficult because there are guys like Cedric, Courier, Goran Ivanisevic and Richard Krajicek trying to stop me. But that’s what I want – to test myself, and I figure that the better players you play the more you lift your level.”And McEnroe had a message for anyone wondering how serious the competition is on the Delta Tour of Champions.“Anyone that watches the matches, particularly my matches, realises that it’s serious,” said McEnroe.“We don’t have the chance to play at Wimbledon or the US Open and every time you step on the court you don’t know how many more years you are going to be able to play for. Twenty years ago I didn’t think I would be playing on a Champions Tour so you have to have a little twinkle in the eye and feel good about it.”The next event on the Champions Tour will take place in Doha, Qatar (April 8-11).Players will compete for points throughout the year to qualify for The Masters at the Royal Albert Hall in London, November 29 – December 4. The top ten players in the Stanford Financial Champions Tour Rankings after all events are complete will qualify automatically. The field in London will increase to 12 with the addition of two wild cards.To be eligible to compete on the Delta Tour of Champions, players must have been either a World No.1 during their competitive playing careers, a Grand Slam singles finalist, or a singles player in a victorious Davis Cup team, and no longer active on the ATP circuit. Each event can also invite two players of its choice to take wild cards.
Groups:Group A: John McEnroe, Pat Cash, Mikael Pernfors, Henri LeconteGroup B: Jim Courier, Goran Ivanisevic, Cedric Pioline, Anders Jarryd