February 16, 1959
Born In: Wiesbaden, West Germany
Career: Tennis Player
John McEnroe is an American professional tennis player, a former World No 1 who is now retired. Throughout his career, he won seven Grand Slam singles titles, three at Wimbledon and four at US Open, along with nine Grand Slam men's doubles titles and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title. He was a consistent serve and volleyer. He is remembered for his shot-making artistry and aggressive, confrontational behavior. In 1999, McEnroe was introduced into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He is also known to be the oldest male player to win a top-level title in 30 years, at San Jose.
John McEnroe was born as ‘John Patrick McEnroe, Jr.’ on 16th February 1959, in the U.S military base at Wiesbaden, West Germany. His mother’s name was Katy, while his father John Patrick McEnroe, Sr. was an attorney. His father was stationed with the United States Air Force and when John was less than a year old, his family moved to New York City. The former years of his life were spent in Douglaston, Queens. He learned tennis at the nearby Port Washington Tennis Academy, in Port Washington on Long Island, New York.
McEnroe plunged into professional tennis in 1977, at the age of 18. He made it through the qualifying tournament into the main draw at Wimbledon, where he lost in four sets in the semifinals. However, it was the best performance by a qualifier at a Grand Slam tournament and a record by an amateur. After this, McEnroe joined Stanford University, where he won the NCAA singles and team titles in 1978. Subsequently, he joined the professional tour.
In 1978, he signed his first professional endorsement deals in tennis, with Sergio Tacchini. McEnroe won the first Grand Slam singles title of his career at the 1979 US Open. He defeated Vitas Gerulaitis, in straight sets, in the final and became the youngest winner of the championships, after Pancho Gonzales. In the same year, McEnroe also won 10 singles and 17 doubles titles and set an open era record for a total of 27 titles.
In 1980, McEnroe reached the men’s singles finals at Wimbledon for the first time. His opponent Bjorn Borg was playing for his fifth Wimbledon title. Though McEnroe lost the match, it s considered to be the best Wimbledon final ever. The tie-breaker in the fourth set continued for 20 minutes and is still referred as ‘then tie-breaker’. However, he took his revenge shortly, after beating Borg in 1980 US Open. Once again, the two met in the final of the 1981 US Open, which McEnroe won, becoming the first male player since the 1920s to win three consecutive US Open singles titles.
In 1982, McEnroe lost the Wimbledon final, but made a comeback in 1984. The same year, he also made a debut at the Australian Open, but lost in the semifinals. In 1984, McEnroe grabbed the Wimbledon title once again. It was his third and final Wimbledon singles title. The same year, he also won his fourth US Open title. Moreover, he compiled an 82-3 record and won a career-high 13 singles tournaments, including Wimbledon and the US Open. He also was on the US' winning World Team Cup team and runner-up Davis Cup team.
As per Association of Tennis Professionals, McEnroe became the top ranked singles player in March 1980, for the first time. He was the top ranked player many times between 1980 and 1985. He ranked as World No. 1 for four straight years, from 1981 to 1984. He stayed at the top of the rankings for a total of 170 weeks. Moreover, he was also ranked the World No. 1 in doubles for a record 257 weeks. He enjoyed a powerful partnership with Peter Fleming, with whom he won 57 men's doubles titles, including 4 at Wimbledon and 3 at the US Open.
In 1989, McEnroe won a record fifth title at the World Championship Tennis Finals. He also won the Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basel. In 1991, he won the last edition of the Volvo Tennis - Chicago tournament. He teamed with Michael Stich and won his fifth Wimbledon men’s doubles title in a record length - 5 hour 1 minute. At the end of 1992, McEnroe retired from the professional tour. He ended his singles career ranked 20th in the world.
McEnroe now works as tennis sports commentator and has regularly appeared in US nationally telecast Grand Slam tennis matches, for many years. He was also the U.S. Davis Cup captain in September 1999. In 2002, McEnroe wrote a book along with co-author James Kaplan, titled ‘You Cannot Be Serious.’ He plays on two senior tours, the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions and the Outback Champions Series. He also appears as a TV commentator at major tournaments.
In 1986, McEnroe took a break from the tour. During this time, he married actress Tatum O’Neal on August 1, 1986. The couple eventually has three children Kevin (born on May 23, 1986), Sean (born on September 23, 1987) and Emily (born on May 10, 1991). Though he won three titles after returning to the tour, he was never able to regain his form. McEnroe divorced Tatum O'Neal in 1992 & married musician Patty Smyth in April 1997. He and Smyth have two daughters, Anna (born on December 27, 1995) and Ava (born on March 28, 1999), along with stepdaughter, Ruby (from Smyth's previous marriage to rock star Richard Hell).
- 3 Wimbledon Singles Titles (1981, 1983, 1984)
- 4 US Open Singles Titles (1979, 1980, 1981, 1984)
- 9 Grand Slam Men's Doubles Titles (Wimbledon – 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1992; US Open – 1979, 1981, 1983, 1989)
- 1 Grand Slam Mixed Doubles Title (1977 French Open)