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John McEnroe: The Man Behind the Racket

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By Jacob Jackson

John McEnroe is one of the most iconic and influential figures in the history of tennis. He is known for his exceptional skills, his fierce rivalries, and his fiery temperament on the court. He won seven Grand Slam singles titles, nine Grand Slam doubles titles, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title, as well as leading the U.S. team to five Davis Cup victories. McEnroe also achieved the rare feat of being the world No. 1 in both singles and doubles simultaneously. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, and one of the most entertaining and controversial personalities in sports.

John McEnroe

John McEnroe’s Biography

Full nameJohn Patrick McEnroe Jr.
Date of birthFebruary 16, 1959
Place of birthWiesbaden, West Germany (now Germany)
ResidenceNew York City, New York, U.S.
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Turned pro1978
Retired1994 (singles), 2006 (doubles)
PlaysLeft-handed (one-handed backhand)
CollegeStanford University
CoachAntonio Palafox
Prize moneyUS$12,552,132
Hall of Fame1999
Singles titles77
Doubles titles78
Highest singles rankingNo. 1 (March 3, 1980)
Highest doubles rankingNo. 1 (January 3, 1983)
Grand Slam singles titles7 (4 US Open, 3 Wimbledon)
Grand Slam doubles titles9 (5 Wimbledon, 4 US Open)
Grand Slam mixed doubles title1 (French Open)
Year-end championships19 (8 singles, 11 doubles)
Davis Cup titles5 (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1992)
Olympic medalBronze (1988, doubles)
NicknamesMac, Big Mac, Superbrat, The Commissioner of Tennis
CatchphraseYou cannot be serious
Famous rivalriesBjörn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander
First wifeTatum O’Neal (actress)
Second wifePatty Smyth (singer)
Children6 (3 with O’Neal, 2 with Smyth, 1 stepdaughter)
TattooCeltic cross on left shoulder
Art collectionWorth over $10 million
Net worthEstimated at $100 million
DocumentariesMcEnroe (2022), John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018), McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice (2011)
Movies and TV showsMr. Deeds, 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc.
Commentator forNBC, CBS, ESPN, BBC, etc.
Tennis academyJohn McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York
Senior tour titles25
Opinion on pickleballSucks, a joke, a sign of giving up

Early Life and Education

John McEnroe was the eldest of three sons born to John Sr. and Kay McEnroe. His father was a lawyer who later became an executive at a pharmaceutical company, and his mother was a nurse. He has two younger brothers, Mark and Patrick, who also became professional tennis players.

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John McEnroe attended Trinity School, a private school in Manhattan, where he excelled academically and athletically. He was the captain of the tennis team, and also played soccer and basketball. He graduated in 1977, and enrolled at Stanford University, where he won the NCAA singles title in 1978. McEnroe left college after his freshman year to pursue his tennis career full-time.

John McEnroe’s Biography
Daily Mail

John McEnroe’s Career

John McEnroe’s career spanned from 1977 to 1994, during which he won 77 singles titles and 78 doubles titles, including 17 Grand Slam titles. He also played in 19 Grand Slam finals, and won 19 year-end championships. He reached the No. 1 ranking in singles in 1980, and held it for a total of 170 weeks, the fourth-longest in history. John McEnroe also reached the No. 1 ranking in doubles in 1983, and held it for a total of 269 weeks, the most in history. He is the only male player to be ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles at the same time.

He was part of the U.S. Davis Cup team from 1978 to 1992, and helped the team win five titles. He also represented the U.S. at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, where he won a bronze medal in doubles with Robert Seguso. He retired from singles in 1994, and from doubles in 2006. McEnroe is still active on the senior tour, where he has won 25 titles.

John McEnroe’s Net Worth

John McEnroe’s net worth is estimated to be around $100 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He earned most of his wealth from his tennis career, where he amassed over $12 million in prize money, and from his endorsements, where he signed deals with brands such as Nike, Dunlop, Sergio Tacchini, and Rolex.

He also earned money from his appearances in movies, TV shows, and commercials, such as Mr. Deeds, 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and American Express. McEnroe also has a career as a tennis commentator, working for networks such as NBC, CBS, ESPN, and BBC. He also owns a tennis academy in New York, and a collection of art, which he has auctioned for charity.

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John McEnroe’s Wife and Children

John McEnroe has been married twice, and has six children. His first wife was actress Tatum O’Neal, whom he married in 1986. They have three children together: Kevin, Sean, and Emily. They divorced in 1994, after a turbulent marriage that involved drug abuse and custody battles. His second wife is singer Patty Smyth, whom he married in 1997.

John McEnroes Wife and Children

They have two daughters together: Anna and Ava. He also has a stepdaughter, Ruby, from Smyth’s previous marriage to musician Richard Hell. McEnroe and Smyth live in Manhattan, and have a vacation home in Malibu. McEnroe is close to his children, and supports their endeavors in music, acting, and sports.

John McEnroe’s Age, Height, and Weight

John McEnroe is 64 years old, as of 2023. He was born on February 16, 1959, in Wiesbaden, West Germany. He is 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 meters) tall, and weighs around 165 pounds (75 kilograms). John has a slim and athletic build, and has maintained his fitness throughout his life.

He has blue eyes and blond hair, which he often wears in a curly style. McEnroe has a distinctive facial expression, which often shows his emotions and moods. He has a tattoo of a Celtic cross on his left shoulder, which he got in 1997.

John McEnroe and Pickleball

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played on a court similar to a badminton court, with a net and a wiffle ball. It can be played as singles or doubles, and has rules that differ from tennis, such as the serve, the scoring, and the non-volley zone.

John McEnroe is not a fan of pickleball, to say the least. He has expressed his disdain for the sport on several occasions, calling it “sucks” and “a joke”. John has also criticized the popularity of pickleball among older players, saying that it is a sign of “giving up” and “settling”.

He has also joked that he would rather play chess than pickleball. However, McEnroe has also participated in some pickleball events, mostly for charity or entertainment purposes. He played in the first Pickleball Slam in 2023, where he teamed up with Michael Chang to face Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick in a celebrity exhibition match. He lost the match, but provided some drama and humor with his antics and arguments. McEnroe also played in the second Pickleball Slam in 2024, where he partnered with Maria Sharapova to challenge Agassi and Steffi Graf.

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He also lost that match, but again entertained the crowd with his theatrics and comments. McEnroe has admitted that pickleball is a fun and easy sport to play, but he still prefers tennis as his passion and profession. He has also said that he respects the players who enjoy pickleball, but he does not see himself becoming a convert anytime soon.

John McEnroe and Pickleball
Sports Illustrated


John McEnroe’s life and career have been captured in various documentaries, which reveal different aspects of his personality, achievements, and challenges. Some of the most notable ones are:

  • John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018): A French documentary that uses footage from the 1984 French Open, where McEnroe lost to Ivan Lendl in the final, to analyze his game, his style, and his mindset. It shows how McEnroe pursued perfection, but also faced pressure, frustration, and self-doubt.
  • McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice (2011): An HBO documentary that explores the rivalry and friendship between McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, who played 14 times between 1978 and 1981, including four epic Grand Slam finals. It features interviews with both players, as well as other tennis legends, and shows how they influenced each other and the sport.
  • McEnroe (2022): A Showtime documentary that follows McEnroe as he walks through the streets of New York, revisiting his past and reflecting on his legacy. It features interviews with his family, friends, peers, and celebrities, as well as archival footage and photos. It shows how McEnroe balanced his passion, his fame, and his personal life.

FAQs about John McEnroe

How many times did John McEnroe play against Bjorn Borg?

John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg played 14 times between 1978 and 1981, with McEnroe winning seven matches and Borg winning seven matches. They played four Grand Slam finals, with Borg winning three and McEnroe winning one.

What is John McEnroe’s famous catchphrase?

John McEnroe’s famous catchphrase is “You cannot be serious”, which he often shouted at umpires when he disagreed with their calls. He also used other phrases, such as “You’ve got to be kidding me” and “Answer my question”.

What is John McEnroe’s nickname?

John McEnroe’s nickname is “Mac” or “Big Mac”, which is derived from his surname. He also has other nicknames, such as “Superbrat” and “The Commissioner of Tennis”.

What is John McEnroe’s highest ranking in singles and doubles?

John McEnroe’s highest ranking in singles is No. 1, which he first achieved in 1980, and held for a total of 170 weeks. His highest ranking in doubles is also No. 1, which he first achieved in 1983, and held for a total of 269 weeks.

What is John McEnroe’s favorite surface and tournament?

John McEnroe’s favorite surface is grass, which suits his serve-and-volley style and his touch. His favorite tournament is Wimbledon, where he won three singles titles and five doubles titles.


John McEnroe is a legend of tennis, who has left a lasting impact on the sport and the culture. He is admired for his skill, his passion, and his personality, as well as his achievements and contributions. He is also respected for his honesty, his generosity, and his humor. John is still active in the tennis world, as a player, a commentator, a coach, and a mentor. He is a role model for many aspiring and current players, who look up to him and learn from him. He is a true champion, and one of the greatest of all time.

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