John Patrick McEnroe, Jr. (born February 16, 1959) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from the United States often rated among the greatest tennis players of all time, especially for his touch on the volley.
He won seven Grand Slam singles titles (three at Wimbledon and four at the US Open), nine Grand Slam men’s doubles titles, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title.
McEnroe is a former Captain of the United States Davis Cup team and as a player was part of four Cup-winning teams.
He continues to play tennis and competes in senior events on the ATP Champions Tour.
He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999 and received the Philippe Chatrier Award in 2007.
After his tennis career he became a television commentator, a game show host and a chat show host.
Additionally, he has appeared in several films and television shows as himself and has played music live.
In 1979, 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 remained controversial when he returned to Wimbledon in 1981.
Following his first-round match against Tom Gullikson, McEnroe was fined U.S. $1,500 and came close to being thrown out after he called umpire Ted James “the pits of the world” and then swore at tournament referee Fred Hoyles.
He also made famous the phrase “you cannot be serious”, which years later became the title of McEnroe’s autobiography, by shouting it after several umpires’ calls during his matches.
At the 1984 French Open, McEnroe lost a close final match to Ivan Lendl.
McEnroe was on the verge of beating Lendl after winning the first two sets, but Lendl’s decision to use more topspin lobs and cross-court backhand passing shots, as well as fatigue and temperamental outbursts, got the better of McEnroe, allowing Lendl to win a dramatic five-setter.
The loss ended a 42-match winning streak since the start of the season and was the closest McEnroe ever came to winning the French Open.
In his autobiography, McEnroe described this loss as his bitterest defeat and conveyed the impression that this was a shadow on his career that could never be chased off.
In 1986 McEnroe took time away from tennis and married actress Tatum O’Neal, his girlfriend of two years (after the birth of their first child, Kevin), and retreated to his Malibu, California, home.
His break from tennis did not last long as he came back in August to face Boris Becker in a tournament in Stratton Mountain, Vermont.
The match invited comparisons to the earlier Borg-McEnroe rivalries.
Unfortunately, his comeback never fully took shape. He continued as a Davis Cup player and his successes in Cup play earned him more press than his occasional singles titles.
McEnroe, who has four children, divorced O’Neal in 1992.