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                === Same old Mac on the tennis court ===
 By Scott Riley
 Tennis Editor
      Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - They say  some  things  never
 change.   And  that  certainly appears to be the case when it comes to
 one John McEnroe, who will be this week's always-interesting topic  in
 the not-always-interesting world of professional tennis.
      One of the greatest tennis players --  not  to  mention  American
 athletes  -- of all-time was up to his old tricks this past weekend in
 Chicago, where the 41-year-old was performing,  and  titling,  on  the
 Nuveen Champions senior tennis circuit.
      On Saturday, the always-feisty lefthander fired a half-full water
 bottle into the stands, striking 10-year-old Jeff Hughes, who left the
 stands crying, parents by his side, during Saturday's semifinal action
 in the Windy City.
      McEnroe threw the water bottle while seated during  a  changeover
 and  engaged  in an argument with the chair umpire.  The bottle sailed
 high and into the front row of the stands, nailing  Hughes,  a  fellow
 lefty, in the stomach.
      The hot-headed McEnroe did make amends, however, as he hit  balls
 on  a side court with Hughes while his championship match against Mats
 Wilander was delayed by rain.
      McEnroe gave Hughes some tips  and  encouragement  while  hitting
 with him and playing some points for nearly 20 minutes.
      Mac would later take care of business  by  handling  his  Swedish
 counterpart  Wilander,  6-2,  6-4,  in Sunday's final.  Wilander, like
 McEnroe, is also a seven-time Grand Slam titlist.
      McEnroe, of course, is no stranger  to  on-court  antics,  having
 made  a  career of it on the ATP Tour from the late 1970s and into the
 early 1990s.
      The American  star  claimed  four  U.S.  Open  crowns  and  three
 Wimbledon  singles titles during his brilliant career, but the classic
 New Yorker, who  boasts  77  career  singles  titles  and  77  doubles
 championships,  is  probably  best  remembered  for screaming at chair
 umpires, linespeople, and anyone else who stood before him in the heat
 of play.
      The current Davis Cup captain, who not only plays on  the  senior
 tennis tour, also works as the sport's top color analyst on television
 and owns an art gallery in the Big Apple (between Broome and Grand  in
 the heart of SOHO).
      Speaking of Davis Cup, McEnroe would like  to  forget  about  his
 recent  experience  in  the semifinals of the event, when his depleted
 squad bowed out against Spain in a 5-0 sweep by the  hosts.   McEnroe,
 forced  to  battle the Spaniards with a team comprised of Todd Martin,
 Jan-Michael  Gambill,  Chris   "Country"   Woodruff   and   the   not-
 certifiably-hot   Vincent   Spadea,  did  not  have  the  services  of
 superstars Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras  at  his  disposal,  as  both
 performers were sidelined with injuries.
      McEnroe, never lacking confidence, considered playing Cup doubles
 against Spain, but decided against it, citing a blister problem on one
 of his legendary, soft tennis hands.
      The always-charismatic Mac was recently voted number  four  in  a
 poll  for  the player of the century by the ATP. The in-your-face star
 was ranked number one in the world for an amazing 170 weeks during his
 incredible run.
      Mac's lefthanded strokes and  improvisational  skills  confounded
 opponents. He was (and still is) a gifted and imaginative player.
      His fiery temperament and rebellious nature was  (and  apparently
 still is) "Superbrat's" claim to fame.
 07/31 13:07:28 ET

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