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John McEnroe
beats Bjorn Borg to win the 1981 singles title
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John McEnroe
The famous outburst
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Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Sue Barker's golden moments - No.2
John McEnroe
"You're the pits of the world!" McEnroe throws a tantrum
Sue Barker has seen many of Wimbledon's finest moments in her time as a player and BBC presenter - and she has also seen some of its darkest.

Here she looks back at John McEnroe and an infamous outburst that reamins a catchphrase to this day.

He can't have realised it at the time, but John McEnroe was uttering words that would forever be associated with him when he totally lost his cool back in 1981.

"You cannot be serious!"

It is still the enduring image when one thinks of McEnroe and Wimbledon - even though he has three singles titles to his name and is one of the Championships' greatest ever winners.


Sue Barker
McEnroe was playing Tom Gullikson in the year of his maiden Wimbledon singles triumph and he blew his top in their first round match after having one of his serves called long.

The excitable American was convinced he had seen chalk dust fly up as a result of the serve, indicating to him that the ball must have bounced on the line, not beyond it.

Umpire Edward James said the chalk which he saw was a scattering which had spread beyond the line and therefore the call would not be overruled.

McEnroe was beside himself with rage and he was first warned before having a point deducted for muttering: "You're the pits of the world," for good measure.

He demanded to see the match referee because he refused to have a point taken off him by "an incompetent fool", but he was not to be placated.

McEnroe had the last laugh of course as he defeated Gullikson en route to exacting revenge on Bjorn Borg in the final after being beaten by him in an epic encounter the year before.

The hair, the headband and the temper all made John P McEnroe a bit different, a bit special.

Love him or hate him he drew the crowds. Personally, I loved him.

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See also:

25 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Sue Barker's golden moments - No.1
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
John McEnroe
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Sue Barker
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