February 15, 2006

Johnny Mac coming back: John McEnroe will play doubles with Jonas Bjorkman in an ATP event in San Jose. It will be interesting to see if he can control his temper. Personally, I hope he doesn't. Mens tennis needs someone with a little 'personality'.

posted by Desert Dog to tennis at 11:27 AM - 8 comments

Oops. Dropped the ball on the html address. Sorry. Didn't know how to delete it. The article is also on ESPN.com.

posted by Desert Dog at 11:31 AM on February 15, 2006

Sure, it's nice to have someone with a little personality. But what the sport really requires is a great rivalry. Ilie Nastasy was volatile. Jimmy Connors was more successful, and he too had an intense on-court personality. But what truly made McEnroe stand-out was that he had a tremendous rivalry with the greatest player of his era -- Bjorn Borg. Borg and McEnroe made awesome TV. Borg was a clinical technician and statuesque blond hippie, he had mystique, he seemed at the same time to be a California surfboy and a silent assassin. McEnroe provided the role of foil. He was the exact opposite of Borg. It made for a compelling rivalry, the likes of which we haven't seen since in the mens game. Federer is now the new Borg, perhaps even better, but his clinical technical excellence, his ruthless competitive streak, and his ability to stay calm, in many respects reminds me of Borg. I had hoped that Roddick might provide the foil that would raise Roger's profile in N.America, but Roddick is perhaps too nice a guy (hey, not a bad thing!) and not able to match Federer's skill level. If he can take a Wimbledon final from Federer, their rivalry would escalate in a huge way. It could happen yet, but the sport needs a rivalry between two athletes of similar caliber in the same way an eBay seller requires two eager bidders to make an auction a success.

posted by the red terror at 11:58 AM on February 15, 2006

Federer is now the new Borg I'll consider him the new borg when he starts assimilating other tennis players. Someone tell Andy Roddick resistance is futile.

posted by HATER 187 at 12:12 PM on February 15, 2006

Fixed the link.

posted by justgary at 12:23 PM on February 15, 2006

Thank you, justgary. My computer illiteracy raises it's ugly head every now and again. I agree with the red terror. Rivalries' are what add more spice to all sports, not just tennis. I enjoyed the Agassi-Sampras matches. I believe Sampras has the edge on Andre, but they had some excellent matches. I also enjoyed watching Mats Wilander play Ivan Lendl. Lendl never gets enough credit for his greatness. He was a baseliner (who never won Wimbledon) but the guy was deadly with that forehand.

posted by Desert Dog at 02:10 PM on February 15, 2006

thanks 4 the info, I live in San Jose and will be going to this tournament only to see McEnroe and hopfully one of his famous blow-ups in person !

posted by trrron at 04:31 PM on February 15, 2006

One person who matches John McEnroe's "excitement " for the game is Marat Safin. John himself comments all the time (when he was commentating) on how much he likes to watch Marat. Who else goes so nutso on the court? You can just watch him have a meltdown. Except recently it seems he is staying way more in control. I think that's been too bad, for him (he played better when he exploded), too bad for tennis and too bad for all of us who liked to watch him articulate his latest problems. I don't know of anyone i would say he was in a rivalry with but in 2005 at the Aussie open he took out Roger.

posted by 2sweet<> at 11:23 PM on February 15, 2006

Mac's an ass. An ass I'd pay to see (well, you know what I mean).

posted by justgary at 03:58 PM on February 16, 2006

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