BY: Liliana Rocio Suarez, Senior Editor For World Liberty TV
John Patrick McEnroe Jr. is a retired American tennis player, often considered among the greatest in the history of the sport. He was known for his shot-making artistry and volleying skills, as well as his confrontational on-court behavior that frequently landed him in trouble with umpires and tennis authorities.
McEnroe attained the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles, finishing his career with 77 singles and 78 doubles titles; this remains the highest men’s combined total of the Open Era. At the majors he won seven singles titles (four US Open, three Wimbledon) and nine men’s doubles titles. He also excelled at the year-end tournaments, winning eight singles and seven doubles titles, both of which are records.
McEnroe contributed to five Davis Cup titles for the U.S. and later served as team captain. He has stayed active in retirement, often competing in senior events on the ATP Champions Tour. For many years he has also worked as a television commentator during the majors.
In 1979, McEnroe and partner Peter Fleming won the Wimbledon Doubles title, the duo later adding the 1979 US Open Doubles title to their haul as well. McEnroe won his first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open. He defeated his friend Vitas Gerulaitis in straight sets in the final to become the youngest male winner of the singles title at the US Open since Pancho Gonzales, who was also 20 in 1948. He also won the prestigious season-ending WCT Finals, beating Björn Borg in four sets. McEnroe won 10 singles and 17 doubles titles that year (for a total of 27 titles, which marked an open-era record.
McEnroe became the top-ranked singles player in the world on March 3, 1980. He was the top ranked player on 14 separate occasions between 1980 and 1985 and finished the year ranked World No. 1 four straight years from 1981 through 1984. He spent a total of 170 weeks at the top of the rankings.
McEnroe was married to Tatum O’Neal, Academy Award-winning actress and daughter of Ryan O’Neal, from 1986 to 1994 and the two had three children, Kevin, Sean and Emily. After their divorce, they were originally awarded joint custody of the children, but in 1998 McEnroe was awarded sole custody due to O’Neal’s drug problems.
In 1997, McEnroe married rock singer Patty Smyth with whom he has two daughters, Anna and Ava, and a stepdaughter, Ruby from Smyth’s previous marriage to musician Richard Hell.
We had a pleasure of interviewing John McEnroe at his 3rd Annual Johnny Mac Tennis Project in the Hampton’s, see more about John McEnroe in our World Liberty TV Sports Channel by clicking here.