=== Same old Mac on the tennis court ===
By Scott Riley
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
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
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
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