"It's not really that serious if you think about it"! [John McEnroe at Wimbledon],
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This review is from: Legends of Wimbledon: John Mcenroe [DVD] [US Import] (DVD)
This DVD (approved by The all England lawn tennis and croquet club) created in 1998 chronicles John McEnroe's career specifically at Wimbledon. From entering as a qualifier in 1977 after playing at the Roehampton warm-up tournament he went on to have a magnificent first year at the tournament. He says on the DVD how surprised he was to make it into the main draw. Maybe it was that feeling of surprise and awe that kept him enjoying the tournament enough to take it all the way and face Jimmy Connors in the semi finals. He was 18 years old going up against a former champion. He says in his autobiography about how he tried to say 'Hi' but Connors just blanked him. This intimidation led to him losing in 4 sets but his impact that year was not taken lightly.
There are interviews with McEnroe's father, his doubles partner Peter Fleming whom he won many titles with including 4 at Wimbledon, Jimmy Connors, former umpire David Mercer who tells us if you were umpiring a McEnroe match you had to be skilled! Also BBC commentator John Barrett discusses his impressions of the teenager and the man. There are interviews with McEnroe himself speaking at a pre 9/11 New York city, sporting a goatee and earring.
In 1980 McEnroe beat Jimmy Connors in the semis reaching the final to face Bjorn Borg in his last Wimbledon win ,with McEnroe putting up an incredible fight but losing in 5 sets after winning the 4th tiebreaker 18-16. They refer to it as 'The Tiebreaker' and this was of course 1 of the greatest finals in the tournament's history. It was 1981 when he returned as the world's number 1 player and won his first Wimbledon, causing much more controversy that year after being fined $1,500 for calling an umpire "The pits of the world", swearing at the tournament's referee and screaming what became his famous catchphrase "you cannot be serious!". He defeated Bjorn Borg in 4 sets and this was the 2nd to last Grand slam Borg ever played after losing again to Mac in the US Open.
The rivalries between Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors are briefly discussed on this DVD, as Mac faced Connors and Borg in 2 finals each. In 1982 McEnroe came head-to-head with Connors in the final. Connors prevailed in 5 sets in what was the longest men's final at the time. "I never believed that anyone could try that hard" is McEnroe's response to Connors' dog fighting spirit to force a win that year after 8 years since his last Wimbledon championship.
In 1983 McEnroe faced Chris Lewis in what John himself calls "a mismatch" with his 2nd Wimbledon championship made by winning in straight sets, dropping just 6 games and playing perfect tennis. John also won the men's doubles that year paired with Peter Fleming. As John Barrett tells us; McEnroe hated to train and much preferred to play matches to gain experience and this is the reason why he won so many doubles tournaments.
In 1984 Mac went up against Connors again but this time it was far easier for him beating Jimmy in straight sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. David Mercer refers to it as "The best match he ever played"!
In 1985 he lost in the quarter finals to South African Kevin Curren 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 and the narrator tells us the game had become much more "about power to the detriment of McEnroe". Peter Fleming tells us the reason he didn't win anymore Grand Slams after 1984 "was because he lost his step... he was fighting an uphill battle". Barrett says "he lost his flare" and Mac admits "I slowed down... there were things I couldn't do so well anymore". He was 26 years old!
The narrator tells us that his Marriage to Tatum O' Neill broke down ending in divorce and due to the distractions of stardom he never played as well again. 1992 was MacEnroe's last Wimbledon and he made himself an ultimatum - unless he won a major he was going to quit professional tennis at the age of 33. He beat Pat Cash in the second round and as the narrator explains "crushed" the Aussie former champion. He went on to face Andre Agassi in the semi final and lost explaining in the interview "I was 33 but I didn't feel anywhere near as good as when I was 25". However it wasn't all sad as he teamed up with 1991 champion Michael Stich for the men's doubles where they reached the final and won so John could hold his head high in glory and it was a great way to go out ending his Wimbledon career on a high note. Mac's closing statement on his career is "They're not going to forget how I yelled at umpires but I'd like to think they respected the way I played and what I tried to do for the sport". John Barrett proclaims "I shall always think that John McEnroe was probably the best doubles player I ever saw".
It ends with the narrator saying McEnroe now runs an art gallery, he's an accomplished musician, a family man (speech about his family) and has become a TV commentator on tennis; as the narrator puts it "ironically...a case of poacher turned game keeper"! John Barrett comments on McEnroe's ability to relate to the players, bringing "a different dimension to commentating". John is my favourite commentator because of his ability to understand the players and their position as he says "I've been there". He may have changed people's views of tennis on the court but he continues to be influential off the court too in the commentary box.
This is a really good look into McEnroe's career and if you are a keen fan of him or have taken just a casual interest in him then this DVD is definitely for you!