|Residence||The Hub City|
|Date of birth||February 16, 1959|
|Place of birth||Wiesbaden, West Germany|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||165 lb (75 kg)|
|Turned pro||1978, international debut in 1976|
|Plays||Left-handed; one-handed backhand|
|Career prize money||US$12,547,797|
|Int. Tennis HOF||1999 (member page)|
|Career record||875–198 (81.55%)|
|Career titles||99 including 77 listed by the ATP|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (March 3, 1980)|
|Grand Slam results|
|Australian Open||SF (1983)|
|French Open||F (1984)|
|Wimbledon||W (1981, 1983, 1984)|
|US Open||W (1979, 1980, 1981, 1984)|
|Tour Finals||W (1978, 1983, 1984)|
|Career record||530–103 (83.73%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (January 3, 1983)|
|Australian Open||SF (1989)|
|French Open||QF (1992)|
|Wimbledon||W (1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1992)|
|US Open||W (1979, 1981, 1983, 1989)|
|Grand Slam mixed doubles results|
|French Open||W (1977)|
|Last updated on: July 6, 2006.|
John Patrick McEnroe, Jr. (born February 16, 1959) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from the United States. During his career, he won seven Grand Slam singles titles (three at Wimbledon and four at the US Open), nine Grand Slam men's doubles titles, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title. He is best remembered for his shot-making artistry and superb volleying; for his famous rivalries with Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl; for his confrontational on-court behavior which frequently landed him in trouble with umpires and tennis authorities; and for the catchphrase "You can not be serious!" directed toward an umpire during a match at Wimbledon in 1981. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.
McEnroe is also the older brother of Patrick McEnroe, who is also a former professional tennis player and the present Captain of the United States Davis Cup team, a position in which John served in previously. They also both are now often commentators for Grand Slam tennis television coverage in the United States.
McEnroe was born at the U.S. military base in Wiesbaden, West Germany, to Kay (born Katherine Tresham) and John Patrick McEnroe, Sr. He has two younger brothers: Mark (born 1964), and former professional tennis player Patrick (born 1966). His father, who is of Irish descent, was at the time stationed with the United States Air Force. In 1960, the family moved to the New York City area, where McEnroe's father worked daytime as an advertising agent while attending law school by night. He attended Trinity School (New York City) and graduated in 1977. McEnroe grew up in Douglaston, Queens and started playing tennis when he was eight years old at the nearby Douglaston Club with his brothers. When he was nine, his parents enrolled him in the Eastern Lawn Tennis Association, and he would start playing regional tournaments. He soon began competing in national juniors tournaments, and at twelve—when he was ranked seven in his age group—he joined the Port Washington Tennis Academy, Long Island, NY.
As an 18 year old amateur in 1977, McEnroe won the mixed doubles at the French Open with Mary Carillo, and then made it through the qualifying tournament and into the main draw at Wimbledon, where he lost in the semifinals to Jimmy Connors in four sets. It was the best performance by a qualifier at a Grand Slam tournament and a record performance by an amateur in the open era. Shortly after, McEnroe entered Stanford University and won the National Collegiate Athletic Association singles and team titles in 1978. After that, he joined the professional tour.
McEnroe signed one of the first professional endorsement deals in tennis with Sergio Tacchini in 1978. He won his first Grand Slam singles title at the 1979 US Open. He defeated his good friend Vitas Gerulaitis in straight sets in the final to become the youngest male winner of the singles title at the US Open since Pancho Gonzales, who was also 20 in 1948. McEnroe won 10 singles and 17 doubles titles that year (for a total of 27 titles, which marked an open era record).
In 1980, McEnroe reached the men's singles final at Wimbledon for the first time, where he faced Björn Borg, who was gunning for his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title. At the start of the final, McEnroe was booed by the crowd as he entered Centre Court following heated exchanges with officials during his semifinal victory over Jimmy Connors. In a fourth-set tiebreaker that lasted 20 minutes, often simply called "that tie-breaker", McEnroe saved five match points and eventually won 18-16. McEnroe, however, could not break Borg's serve in the fifth set, which the Swede won 8–6. This match was called the best Wimbledon final by ESPN's countdown show "Who's Number One?" and "one of the three or four greatest sporting events in history" by ESPN personality Mike Greenberg.
McEnroe exacted revenge two months later, beating Borg in the five-set final of the 1980 US Open.
Controversy dogged McEnroe when he returned to Wimbledon in 1981. Following his first-round match against Tom Gullikson, McEnroe was fined U.S. $1,500 and came close to being thrown out of the championships after he called umpire Ted James "the pits of the world" and then swore at tournament referee Fred Hoyles. He also made famous the phrase "you cannot be serious", which years later would become the title of McEnroe's autobiography, by shouting it after several umpires' calls during his matches. This behavior was in sharp contrast to that of Borg, who was painted by the tabloid press as an unflappable "ice man." Nevertheless, in matches played between the two, McEnroe never lost his temper.
But despite the controversy and merciless criticism from the British press (Ian Barnes of the Daily Express nicknamed him "SuperBrat"), McEnroe again made the Wimbledon men's singles final against Borg. And this time, McEnroe prevailed in four sets to end the Swede's run of 41 consecutive match victories at the All England Club. TV commentator Bud Collins quipped after the Independence Day battle, paraphrasing "Yankee Doodle", "Stick a feather in his cap and call it 'McEnroe-ni'!".
The controversy, however, did not end there. In response to McEnroe's on-court outbursts during the championships, the All England Club did not accord McEnroe honorary club membership, an honor normally given to singles champions after their first victory. McEnroe responded by not attending the traditional champions dinner that evening. He told the press: "I wanted to spend the evening with my family and friends and the people who had supported me, not a bunch of stiffs who are 70-80 years old, telling you that you're acting like a jerk." The honor was eventually accorded to McEnroe after he won the championship again.
Borg and McEnroe had their final confrontation in the final of the 1981 US Open. McEnroe won in four sets, becoming the first male player since the 1920s to win three consecutive US Open singles titles. Borg never played another Grand Slam event.
McEnroe lost to Jimmy Connors in the 1982 Wimbledon final. McEnroe lost only one set (to Johan Kriek) going into the final; however, Connors won the fourth set tiebreak and the fifth set to win the championship.
In 1983, McEnroe reached his fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, dropping only one set throughout the whole championship (to Florin Segărceanu), and swept aside the unheralded New Zealander Chris Lewis in straight-sets. He also played at the Australian Open for the first time, making it to the semifinals before being defeated in four sets by Mats Wilander.
At the 1984 French Open, McEnroe lost a close final match to Ivan Lendl. McEnroe was on the verge of beating Lendl after winning the first two sets. But Lendl's decision to use more topspin lobs and cross-court backhand passing shots, as well as fatigue and temperamental outbursts got the better of McEnroe, allowing Lendl to win a dramatic five-setter. The loss ended a 39-match winning streak and was the closest McEnroe ever came to winning the French Open. In his autobiography, McEnroe described this loss as his bitterest defeat and conveyed the impression that this was a shadow on his career that could never be chased off.
In the 1984 Wimbledon final, McEnroe played a virtually flawless match to defeat Connors in just 80 minutes, 6–1, 6–1, 6–2. That was McEnroe's third and final Wimbledon singles title. Again McEnroe had won Wimbledon whilst dropping just one set throughout the entire tournament, this time to Paul McNamee.
McEnroe won his fourth US Open title in 1984 by defeating Lendl in straight sets in the final, after defeating Connors in a five-set semifinal.
1984 was arguably McEnroe's best year on the tennis tour, as he compiled an 82-3 record and won a career-high 13 singles tournaments, including Wimbledon and the US Open. He also was on the U.S.' winning World Team Cup and runner-up Davis Cup teams. The only male who has come close to matching McEnroe's 1984 win-loss record since then was Roger Federer in 2005. Federer was 81-3 before losing his last match of the year to David Nalbandian.
McEnroe's 1984 season did not end without controversy. While playing and winning the tournament in Stockholm, McEnroe had an on-court outburst that became notorious in sports highlight reels. After questioning a call made by the chair umpire, McEnroe demanded, "Answer my question, jerk!" McEnroe then slammed his racquet into a juice cart beside the court.
In 1985, McEnroe reached his last Grand Slam singles final at the US Open. This time, he was beaten in straight sets by Lendl.
By 1986, the pressures of playing at the top had become too much for McEnroe to handle and he took a six-month break from the tour. It was during this sabbatical that he married the actress Tatum O'Neal on August 1, 1986. They would eventually have three children: Kevin (born May 23, 1986), Sean (born September 23, 1987), and Emily (born May 10, 1991), and divorce in 1994. When he returned to the tour later in 1986, he won three titles. But McEnroe never seemed to be able to recapture his very best form again. In 1987, McEnroe failed to win a title for the first time since turning pro. He took a seven-month break from the game following the US Open, where he was suspended for two months and fined US$17,500 for misconduct and verbal abuse.
McEnroe played a continental forehand, which by the 1980s had almost completely disappeared from the professional tour due to the high level of touch needed to master this shot, especially in on-the-run situations. His backhand was similarly continental and one-handed. His serve was unique in tennis. McEnroe would stand at least a meter from the center of the court with his back almost entirely to his opponent, thereby frustrating attempts at guessing whether he would pull the serve wide or jam his opponent. Few, with perhaps the exception of Pete Sampras, have managed to generate the extreme slice which sent his serve skidding low and wide. McEnroe was not known for a power game, but rather for his serve and volley mastery, a style of play that faded in the late 1990s with the advent of raquets that enhanced the return of serve above the serve and made approaches to the net following a serve problematic for all but the finest exponents of the craft
According to the Association of Tennis Professionals, McEnroe became the top-ranked singles player in the world on March 3, 1980. He was the top ranked player on 14 separate occasions between 1980 and 1985 and finished the year ranked World No. 1 four straight years from 1981 through 1984. He spent a total of 170 weeks at the top of the rankings.
McEnroe was also ranked the World No. 1 in doubles for a record 257 weeks. He formed a powerful partnership with Peter Fleming, with whom he won 57 men's doubles titles including four at Wimbledon and three at the US Open. (Fleming was always very modest about his own contribution to the partnership - he once said "the best doubles partnership in the world is John McEnroe and anybody else.") McEnroe won a fourth US Open men's doubles title in 1989 with Mark Woodforde, and a fifth Wimbledon men's doubles title in 1992 with Michael Stich. He also won the 1977 French Open mixed doubles title with childhood pal Mary Carillo.
More than any other player in his era, McEnroe was responsible for reviving U.S. interest in the Davis Cup, which had been shunned by Jimmy Connors and other leading U.S. players, and had not seen a top U.S. player regularly compete since Arthur Ashe (Connors' refusal to play Davis Cup in lieu of lucrative exhibitions became a source of enmity between him and Ashe). In 1978, McEnroe won two singles rubbers in the final as the U.S. captured the cup for the first time since 1972, beating the United Kingdom in the final. McEnroe continued to be a mainstay of U.S. Davis Cup teams for the next 14 years and was part of U.S. winning teams in 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1992. He set numerous U.S. Davis Cup records, including years played (12), ties (30), singles wins (41), and total wins in singles and doubles (59). He played both singles and doubles in 13 series, and he and Peter Fleming won 14 of 15 Davis Cup doubles matches together.
An epic performance was McEnroe's 6-hour, 22-minute victory over Mats Wilander in the deciding rubber of the 3–2 quarterfinal win over Sweden in 1982, played in St. Louis, Missouri. McEnroe won the match, at the time the longest in Davis Cup history, 9–7, 6–2, 15-17, 3–6, 8–6.
McEnroe nearly broke that record in a 6-hour, 20-minute loss to Boris Becker five years later. Becker won their match, the second rubber in a 3–2 loss to West Germany in World Group Relegation play, 4–6, 15-13, 8-10, 6–2, 6–2.
McEnroe also helped the U.S. win the World Team Cup in 1984 and 1985.
McEnroe struggled to regain his form after his 1986 sabbatical. He lost, for example, three times in Grand Slam tournaments to Ivan Lendl, losing straight-set quarterfinals at both the 1987 US Open and the 1989 Australian Open and a long four-set match, played over two days, in the fourth round of the 1988 French Open.
Nevertheless McEnroe had multiple notable victories in the final years of his career.
In the 1988 French Open, McEnroe crushed 16-year old Michael Chang 6-0, 6-3, 6-1 in the third round; Chang would go on to win the title the very next year.
In 1989, McEnroe won a record fifth title at the World Championship Tennis Finals (the championship tournament of the WCT tour, which was being staged for the last time), defeating top-ranked Lendl in the semifinals. At Wimbledon, he defeated Mats Wilander in a four-set quarterfinal before losing to Stefan Edberg in a semifinal. He won the RCA Championships in Indianapolis and reached the final of the Canadian Open, where he lost to Lendl. He also won both of his singles rubbers in the quarterfinal Davis Cup tie with Sweden.
Controversy was never far from McEnroe, however; in his fourth round match against Mikael Pernfors at the 1990 Australian Open, McEnroe was ejected from the tournament for swearing at the umpire, supervisor, and referee. He was warned by the umpire for intimidating a lineswoman, and then docked a point for smashing a racket. McEnroe was apparently unaware that a new Code of Conduct, which had been introduced just before the tournament, meant that a third code violation would not lead to the deduction of a game but instead would result in immediate disqualification; therefore, when McEnroe unleashed a volley of abuse at umpire Gerry Armstrong, he was defaulted. He was fined $65,000 for the incidents.
Later that year, McEnroe reached the semifinals of the US Open, losing to the eventual champion, Pete Sampras in four sets. He also won the Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basel, defeating Goran Ivanišević in a five-set final. The last time McEnroe was ranked in the world top ten was on October 22, 1990, when he was ranked 9th. His end-of-year singles ranking was 13th.
In 1991, McEnroe won the last edition of the Volvo Tennis-Chicago tournament by defeating his brother Patrick in the final. He won both of his singles rubbers in the quarterfinal Davis Cup tie with Spain. And he reached the fourth round at Wimbledon (losing to Edberg) and the third round at the US Open (losing to Chang in a five-set night match). His end-of-year singles ranking was 28th in the world.
In 1992, McEnroe defeated third-ranked and defending champion Boris Becker in the third round of the Australian Open 6–4, 6–3, 7–5 before a sell-out crowd. In the fourth round, McEnroe needed 4 hours 42 minutes to defeat ninth ranked Emilio Sánchez 8–6 in the fifth set. He lost to Wayne Ferreira in the quarterfinals. At Wimbledon, McEnroe reached the semifinals where he lost in straight sets to the eventual champion Andre Agassi. McEnroe teamed with Michael Stich to win his fifth Wimbledon men's doubles title in a record-length 5 hour 1 minute final, which the pair won 5–7, 7–6, 3–6, 7–6, 19-17. At the end of the year, he teamed with Sampras to win the doubles rubber in the Davis Cup final, where the U.S. defeated Switzerland 3–1.
McEnroe retired from the professional tour at the end of 1992. He ended his singles career ranked 20th in the world.
McEnroe separated from Tatum O'Neal in 1992 and they divorced in 1994. While he was originally awarded full custody of their children, they now have joint custody. He married musician Patty Smyth in April 1997, with whom he has two daughters, Anna (14) and Ava (10), and one stepdaughter, Ruby (24) (from Smyth's previous marriage to rock star Richard Hell).
McEnroe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999. He now works as a sports commentator in tennis and has regularly appeared in US national telecasts of Grand Slam tennis matches on such networks as CBS, NBC, USA, and ESPN, as has his brother Patrick. He also commentates on Wimbledon for the BBC in the UK.
McEnroe became the U.S. Davis Cup captain in September 1999. His team barely escaped defeat in their first two outings in 2000, beating Zimbabwe and the Czech Republic in tight 3–2 encounters. They were then defeated 5–0 by Spain in the semifinals. McEnroe resigned in November 2000 after 14 months as captain, citing frustration with the Davis Cup schedule and format as two of his primary reasons. His brother Patrick took over the job.
In July 2004, McEnroe began a CNBC talk show entitled McEnroe. The show, however, was unsuccessful, twice earning a 0.0 Nielsen rating, and was cancelled within five months. He also hosted The Chair quiz show in both the U.K. and the U.S., but this venture also was unsuccessful. In 2002, McEnroe played himself in Mr. Deeds and again in 2008 in You Don't Mess with the Zohan. McEnroe played himself in the 2004 movie Wimbledon.
McEnroe is active in philanthropy and tennis development. For years he has co-chaired the CityParks Tennis charity benefit, an annual fundraiser produced by the City Parks Foundation. The charitable event raises crucial funds for New York City's largest municipal youth tennis programs. He owns an art gallery in Manhattan.
McEnroe plays on two senior tours, the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions and the Outback Champions Series. He is a TV commentator at major tournaments. Many players and tennis experts agree that McEnroe's level of play is still high enough for him to compete on the professional level. In charity events and World Team Tennis, he has beaten many top players, including Mardy Fish and Mark Philippoussis.
In 2007, McEnroe appeared on the NBC comedy 30 Rock as the host of a game show called "Gold Case" in which he uttered his famous line "You cannot be serious!" when a taping went awry. McEnroe also appeared on the HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm.
In 2009, McEnroe appeared on 30 Rock again, in the episode Gavin Voloure, where Steve Martin (playing the title character) invites him to dinner because he is of the world of "Art critique and yelling."
During the 2009 US Open, McEnroe and Serbian star Novak Djokovic shared a comic on-court moment after Djokovic's fourth-round win over Radek Štěpánek. Djokovic, known for his off-court impersonations of other star players (many of them his friends), mimicked McEnroe's pre-service ritual and some of his best-known antics before motioning McEnroe to come down from the press box to join him. McEnroe loosened his shirt, grabbed a racquet, and then proceeded to mimic Djokovic's pre-serve ritual. The two then played a few points, ending with McEnroe hitting a winning cross-court volley; they then congratulated one another at the net.
McEnroe returned to the ATP Tour in 2006 to play two doubles tournaments.
In his first tournament, he teamed with Jonas Björkman to win the title at the SAP Open in San Jose. This was McEnroe's first title since capturing the Paris Indoor doubles title in November 1992 with his brother Patrick. The win meant that McEnroe had won doubles titles in four different decades and is tied with Tom Okker for the second highest number (70) of doubles titles in history (trailing Todd Woodbridge).
In his second tournament, McEnroe and Björkman lost in the quarter-finals of the tournament in Stockholm.
|Year||Championship||Surface||Opponent in final||Score in final|
|1979||US Open||Hard||Vitas Gerulaitis||7–5, 6–3, 6–3|
|1980||US Open (2)||Hard||Björn Borg||7–6(4), 6–1, 6–7(5), 5–7, 6–4|
|1981||Wimbledon||Grass||Björn Borg||4–6, 7–6(1), 7–6(4), 6–4|
|1981||US Open (3)||Hard||Björn Borg||4–6, 6–2, 6–4, 6–3|
|1983||Wimbledon (2)||Grass||Chris Lewis||6–2, 6–2, 6–2|
|1984||Wimbledon (3)||Grass||Jimmy Connors||6–1, 6–1, 6–2|
|1984||US Open (4)||Hard||Ivan Lendl||6–3, 6–4, 6–1|
|Year||Championship||Surface||Opponent in final||Score in final|
|1980||Wimbledon||Grass||Björn Borg||1–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6–7(16), 8–6|
|1982||Wimbledon (2)||Grass||Jimmy Connors||3–6, 6–3, 6–7(2), 7–6(5), 6–4|
|1984||French Open||Clay||Ivan Lendl||3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 7–5, 7–5|
|1985||US Open||Hard||Ivan Lendl||7–6(1), 6–3, 6–4|
|Tournament||1977||1978||1979||1980||1981||1982||1983||1984||1985||1986||1987||1988||1989||1990||1991||1992||Career SR||Career Win-Loss|
|Australian Open||A||A||A||A||A||A||SF||A||QF||NH||A||A||QF||4R||A||QF||0 / 5||18–5|
|French Open||2R||A||A||3R||QF||A||QF||F||SF||A||1R||4R||A||A||1R||1R||0 / 10||25–10|
|Wimbledon||SF||1R||4R||F||W||F||W||W||QF||A||A||2R||SF||1R||4R||SF||3 / 14||59–11|
|US Open||4R||SF||W||W||W||SF||4R||W||F||1R||QF||2R||2R||SF||3R||4R||4 / 16||66–12|
|Year End Ranking||21||4||3||2||1||1||1||1||2||14||10||11||4||13||28||20||N/A||N/A|
John Patrick McEnroe, Jr. (born February 16, 1959 in Wiesbaden, Germany) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from the United States. During his career, he won seven Grand Slam singles titles – three at Wimbledon and four at the U.S. Open. He also won nine Grand Slam men's doubles titles and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title.
John McEnroe is a retired professional tennis player from New York in the USA. He is thought of as one of the best tennis players of all time. He was once ranked number 1 in the world. He is remembered for his quick temper with the umpire and his with players such Bjorn Borg. He is probably also famous for his "You cannot be serious!" rant directed to an umpire in 1981 at Wimbledon.
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