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on 3 November 2002
John Patrick McEnroe, born in 1959, was the world's best player between 1980 and 1984. He has won 76 singles titles, of which 7 Grand Slam, and 76 doubles titles. Nowadays he is one of the best (perhaps even the best) tennis commentator.
In this book McEnroe discusses his childhood, his rise to tennis fame and success, his fantastic 1980 and 1981 Wimbledon-finals against Bjorn Borg, his marriage to actress Tatum O'Neal, becoming a father (eventually six times!), his slow slide down the rankings, his divorce from Tatum O'Neal, his rock 'n roll career, the start of his art gallery in New York, meeting his second wife Patty Smyth, and being a father of six children. He also discusses his current work as tennis commentator for both US and UK television.
Although I am/was a huge John McEnroe-fan I am slightly disappointed with this autobiography. Yes, it does shine some light on the magical tennis player, but it does not go very deep. There are not many details and he remains mostly at the surface. In all honesty, he comes across as selfish and childish (for example: his divorce from Tatum O'Neal was her fault, his slide down the tennis rankings was also not his own fault.) Just like some other readers I expected more as that is what autobiographies are about. However, for John McEnroe-fans like myself it is a MUST.
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on 18 July 2002
One of the most fascinating, and at times disturbing, accounts of one of the most (in)famous tennis players of the Open era.
Whether you loved or hated the Super Brat, admired his skill,or despised his behaviour, this autobiography is a candid and reflective look by McEnroe over his life, with special focus on the past twenty five turbalent years in the public eye.
For all tennis fans, (even for those whose interest is only alight during a certain fortnight in June!)this book takes you into the mind of one of the greatest sporting icons of the 20th Century.
Natuarlly, like any autobiography, there are moments when the reader will raise an eyebrow at the occasional egotistical comment or assumption but these just add to the flavour that is J.P.M. If, like the majority of us mortals, you realise that the chances of ever being able to take McEnroe down to the pub for a drink are remote, this book is a good substitute! With its laid back style and cynical approach by the time you have finshed it you will be willing to buy the bloke a pint!!
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on 5 August 2003
I enjoyed this autobiography. I had initially approached it with some scepticism thinking it would just be a boring catalogue of long past achievements. It is a list of achievements but with the fresh and welcome spin of John McEnroe revealing his feelings and thought processes at each conquest and each low.
He reviews his past triumphs and failures from the perspective of the man he is today and gives an insight into his emotions at the time, and with transparent honesty, evaluates the merit or otherwise of those reactions and is admirably self-critical. He is also very truthful about his view of others and does not hide his likes and dislikes. However, he strives to be fair and always attempts to see things at least partially from the other point of view. It is obvious that this does not always come easily and somethings still grate with him, however, credit must be given for his gracious pursuit of balance and for leaving things unsaid, as required. He could so easily have launched into a vitriolic diatribe against all the injustices, perceived or otherwise, directed at him and used his book as a vehicle for revenge. Having said that, he pulls no punches but manages this without going over the top, unlike in some of the tennis matches he played during his career. It can also be seen that, reading between the lines, he looks back on some of the incidents with a quiet and nostalgic humour and this is appealing.
McEnroe comes over as an edgy, quick to anger guy, who is basically a decent, even likeable, man with a passion for his sport. His appeal for me comes from the memories of the fantastic entertainment he provided for all those years when he was at or near the top of his game. Now he informs and entertains through his precise and in-depth television commentary.
As with most books of this genre the layout is more or less chronological. However, sometimes the dates seem to jump around a bit and it is quite easy to lose track of the year being referenced, especially later on. Also in the latter parts of the book there is a tendency in places to over digress and this can lead to the passage wandering out of context. But these gripes aside, for anyone with the merest passing interest in tennis or John McEnroe, this book can be easily recommended.
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on 18 August 2003
I read this book as a genuinely like John McEnroe and think he comes across as intelligent and funny. I was half expecting the usual catalogue of wins, but I found this book to be honest and very engaging. I think it helped that I well remember the McEnroe era and the sometimes vitriolic competiveness between McEnroe, Connors, Nastasie, Borg et al. I'm not sure a younger reader would enjoy this book as much (alas). Fiona, aged 38 and a half.
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on 7 July 2002
Mr. McEnroes complex character and life is laid bare in this honest autobiography about his life, loves and obesession with the game of tennis. The transformation from immature 'superbrat' to diplomat and unofficial spokesperson for the game augers well for the future as he will influence the media response to the sport due to his outspoken personality and sharp insights. The BBC have sensed this by their astute use of his coverage on both television and the Internet. Well worth reading for an inside view of tennis and personal development from a complex character.
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on 15 July 2003
Quite simply, I was unable to put this down once I had started. Charting the one-time Superbrat's mesmeric rise to the top of world tennis, the self-doubt and loneliness at the top of the sporting mountain, and the inevitable battle against slowing reflexes and aching limbs as age inevitably caought up with him.
Like all of us, McEnroe comes across as an incredibly complex character, blessed with the talent, drive, and necessary arrogance to fight his way to the top, while revealing insight into his attempt to have an ordinary life away from the tennis, which only in the last few years he appears able to do.
After finishing the last page, you felt like you really knew the man himself, rather than just his public persona.
Both motivational, uplifting and sad at the same time, it truly shows you how dreams can be acheived if only you want them badly enough.
If I had read this book ten years ago, then maybe I would have acheived mine. Read it!
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on 25 February 2010
This is a good read if you are a tennis fan. McEnroe's real talent as a grass court specialist and one of the greatest doubles players of all time were often overlooked due to his famous tantrums. Refreshingly, he strikes a good balance between accepting responsibility for his poor behaviour and explaining his rationale without seeking to excuse himself. He talks about the lonliness of the sport at the top, his insecurities as a professional player on the circuit and the void that he felt Borg's retirement left in his own career. His love of the Davis Cup is obvious and it may surprise many (it did me) to learn that he was much happier at team events than in singles matches. He explains that obtaining the holy grail of world number one is even more isolating and results in even more pressure. In addition to explaining the difficulties for tour players in terms of relationships and families as well as his post career and senior tour developments, this is always readable and feels almost like the McEnroe that we now know as a commentator could be sat across from you explaining it all. Well worth reading for any tennis/Mac or sport fans generally.
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on 15 August 2007
Serious is an autobiography for any tennis fan. McEnroe clearly expresses his feelings throughout the book in his journey from a young boy into number 1 in the world.

John McEnroe is a tennis legend. He has enjoyed an incredible career at all levels and owns 77 singles titles including 7 Grand Slam titles. McEnroe, even though one of the greats on the singles tour, he was also a success in doubles. He was ranked number 1 in the world for a record 257 weeks and 74 doubles titles including 8 Grand Slams.

The book gives an insight to McEnroe's feelings and mentality from his early days, up to his last (non-senior) game including his famous rivalries between Conners and Borg.

On a personal level, I thought the most interesting section of the book was his struggle to regain his number one ranking. This, I felt, showed me how much mental resilience and determination McEnroe had. I also found his marriage to Tatum O'Neal intriguing as well as his experiences and troubles with the media- which I deeply sympathized with.

As I said before, this should be read by all tennis fans. Have a good time reading!
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on 4 February 2009
We've all heard the rants from supermac but what's it all about? I loved this book. It gave a great incite into what goes through a big stars mind in relation to all the events that happen in their life, both private and public. How even in the 70's Mac felt the pressures of the paps and grew very cute at dealing with them. It goes through his shyness, lack of confidence with women, and how incidents we are so familiar with have been greatly misunderstood. I think his charm and wiliness to admit his imperfections and mistakes make this frank book a great read.
His desire not to loose seems stronger than his desire to win, or so he says. His tantrums were very much equated to the respect of his opponent- He never had an outburst with Borg and their relationship is a special one especially the loneliness Mac felt at the top of the tennis tree when Borg retired at an early age. I read Boris Becker's autobiography because I grew up to him winning wimbledon but his book doesn't come close to this. Go Mac.
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on 27 December 2010
If like me you think you'd love being an ATP pro, then read it and it's like being there.
It makes John look nicer than I think he really is though especially having seen him recently close up in Paris (Trophee Lagardere 2010), he strikes me as not very nice or with a super inflated ego; Still an amazing tennis player naturally.
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