John McEnRoe booking
Powerful play and a fiery temper won audiences and angered umpires. A bitter showbiz divorce kept
him in the headlines and today he’s commentating for TV. Can he really be serious? Born John Patrick
McEnroe Jnr., at an army base in Germany to American parents, John McEnroe appeared on the
tennis scene in 1977, after being coached by the legendary Harry Hopman at Long Island’s Port
Washington Academy. The 18-year-old amateur won the first of his 17 major titles in the mixed
doubles at the French Open. Qualifying for Wimbledon, he reached the semi-finals, before being
knocked-out by Jimmy Connors. A left-hander, McEnroe combined a strong serve with great accuracy.
Naturally aggressive, he also had the patience and artistry to master the game. Together with Peter
Fleming, he dominated men’s doubles, winning nine Grand Slam tournaments.
1980 brought his most memorable match. A dramatic five-set Wimbledon final with Bjorn Borg saw
McEnroe rescue the fourth set, after facing five championship points. Borg triumphed, but the following
year McEnroe defeated him. Further victories followed in 1983 and 1984. His final triumph at
Wimbledon came in 1992, when he and Michael Stich won the men’s doubles. However, he will
probably be best remembered for his behaviour at Wimbledon in 1981. Warned by the umpire after
smashing his racquet, McEnroe responded, “Man, you can not be serious!”. Later on in the match he
demanded to see the tournament referee, before shouting, “You guys are the absolute pits of the
world, do you know that?”. He also called another umpire “an incompetent fool,” incurring a $10,000
fine. A six-year marriage to actress Tatum O’Neal, with whom he had three children, ended
acrimoniously in 1992; she has recently accused McEnroe of using steroids. Whilst angry, he has not
denied the allegations. Now married to the rock singer Patty Smyth, with whom he has had two
daughters, McEnroe is a commentator and presenter, playing occasional exhibition matches. He met
Smyth while pursuing a career as a rock star learning to play guitar with the help of Eddie Van Halen
and Eric Clapton. He was the lead singer and guitarist of the John Smyth Band and toured small cities
for two years before suddenly quitting ahead of the release of a first album in 1997. He was inducted
into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999 and was selected as the US Davis Cup captain in
September 1999 – a position he held for 14 months citing frustration with the schedule and format.
McEnroe regularly plays on the ATP Tour and made his latest tennis appearance on 13 February 2012
at the SAP Open. He played an exhibition doubles match with young American Jack Sock and beat
Gael Monfils and Steve Johnson in the light-hearted match. He has also appeared in a few films and
TV shows, notably his own talk show called ‘McEnroe’, which ran for five months from July 2004. He
has appeared as himself in the films ‘Mr Deeds’ (2002), ‘Wimbledon’ (2004) and ‘You Don’t Mess With
The Zohan’ in 2008. McEnroe appeared in two episodes of ’30 Rock’ in 2007 and 2009 as well as in
‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. He also works as a sports commentator for Grand Slam tennis matches on
CBS, NBC, USA and ESPN as well as on the BBC for Wimbledon in the UK.
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