John McEnroe is considered one of tennis’ all time greats, with 17 major Grand Slam titles under his belt and a career spanning decades.
But McEnroe is perhaps most famous for his on-court outbursts and blow ups, and for bringing his signature phrase into the public vernacular: “You cannot be serious!”
Now, decades after his professional retirement, he’s making a racket to stop tennis from being boring, and believes today’s stars should be bolder and brattier on the court.
‘Anyone for Menace?’ airs TONIGHT on 60 Minutes at the special time of 7.00PM on Channel 9 after Channel 9 News. For more information on 60 Minutes visit the official website.
Tonight, the tennis legend talks candidly about his new normal – life as an art connoisseur, tennis academy founder and commentator for the 2019 Australian Open.
Reflecting on his career with 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett, McEnroe can’t escape questions of the on-court behaviour that made him the ‘super brat’ of tennis.
“You blew up better than the rest,” Bartlett says.
“I’m sure that I’m one of the all time greats at that,” McEnroe concedes.
“I thought that’s the way people normally talk!”
It’s a spectacle that had almost disappeared from the sport until recently, when eight-time world number one Serena Williams criticised her match umpire in a confrontation that made headlines around the world.
But McEnroe is quick to defend Williams, saying her on-court attack wasn’t a big deal.
“I didn’t think it was that extraordinary, but I’ve done worse myself,” McEnroe says.
And he has high praise and a word of warning for Australia’s own bad boy of tennis, Nick Kyrgios.
“I think he’s the most talented tennis player that I’ve seen in ten years,” McEnroe tells Bartlett.
Now at 59 years old, McEnroe is returning to tennis in the commentary box at the 2019 Australian Open, and he already has ideas about who will come out on top.
While he considers Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams among the world’s best, he hopes there’s still room for a hot-headed and big-mouthed champion like himself.
“I’m just hoping I’m still in the top ten,” he says.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018