McEnroe glad he didn’t play in social media age

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MELISSA SUE GERRITS - 04/17/15 - John McEnroe points out he'd been right about 2 contested plays against Mark Phillipousis in the Power Shares Series at UALR April 17,  2015.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MELISSA SUE GERRITS – 04/17/15 – John McEnroe points out he’d been right about 2 contested plays against Mark Phillipousis in the Power Shares Series at UALR April 17, 2015.

John McEnroe is glad he hit his peak in pro tennis in the 1970s and 80s long before the 24-hour news cycle and social-media scrutiny of today.
“I haven’t gotten into [Twitter] yet, so I can only imagine,’” says McEnroe, who won nine Grand Slam singles titles and  played in the PowerShares Series event Friday night at the Jack Stephens Center on the campus of UALR. “It seems like anywhere you go, everything is seen and is out there. People think they are all journalists or something. I don’t know. If someone wants to say something bad about you, they can pick one person in the world that says something bad about you on Twitter, and all of a sudden that’s the way the whole world feels about someone. In a way, I am glad I am old, happily married and boring now.”
As good as McEnroe was, he is almost as well-known for his confrontations with umpires as well as his off-the-court relationships, including his first marriage to actress Tatum O’Neal and his current marriage with rocker Patty Smyth.
There is no doubt McEnroe would light the Internet ablaze with his comments and antics that made him a pop culture icon during his playing days.
“I think people like personality in a one-on-one sport, and I fit the mode there,” he says. “I tried to say it like it is. Sometimes people respected it; other people had problems with it. Sometimes I went overboard. Sometimes I had something legitimate to say. I think it all ended up pretty good in the end.
“These days, the things I got in trouble for are the things they want to see. What can you do?”
McEnroe, 56, was a crowd favorite Friday night. He easily dispatched 38-year-old Mark Philippoussis in the semifinals before a lop-sided loss to the 32-year-old Andy Roddick. Some fans hoped that McEnroe may throw a tantrum that made him famous. However, McEnroe was pretty mellow. He was polite with reporters before the match and during his two matches said very little but did toss and slam his racket and launched a ball into the arena rafters after falling behind 2-0 to the much younger Roddick.
“It’s funny. You see it every night. When he is playing well, you see what made him great,” says Roddick, who won the 2003 U.S. Open. “When he is a little frustrated, you see what made him great because he still expects to be “that guy. Every single event out here, he still has a certain level of expectation. It is respectable and amazing how he is able to still compete after all of these years. Thats probably what made him what he was.”
McEnroe says his playing days are nearly over, and he is content to stay out of the spotlight aside from television commentary.
“It is part of why I started a tennis academy,” McEnroe says. “It’s part of why I commentate. That’s why I am looking into doing some things for ESPN. Maybe some other sports. At least seeing what other options are out there.
“I will keep playing the rest of my life, but I can’t keep going out like this too much longer against guys who hit the ball this big. The body just doesn’t react like it used to.”

One comment on “McEnroe glad he didn’t play in social media age
  1. Judy Tomasulo says:

    I love this Nike shirt that John McEnroe wore during the Little Rock Powershares event. Please tell me where I could purchase one like it. Thank you for your time and attention.
    Judy Tomasulo