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Last Updated: Monday, 31 May, 2004, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Wimbledon legends: John McEnroe
John McEnroe
Born: 16/02/59
Wiesbaden, Germany (of American parents)
Wimbledon titles: 1981, 1983, 1984
Runner up: 1980, 1982
Grand Slam titles: 7
Prize money: $12,539,622
Never has a more talented and controversial player walked onto the lush lawns of Centre Court than 'Supermac', or is that 'Superbrat'.

Even Wimbledon referee Alan Mills, his arch-nemesis, has said what a tragedy it is that John McEnroe is better remembered for a temper and not tennis.

But it must never be forgotten that the BBC commentator played great tennis.

On that regard he may be remembered for losing to Bjorn Borg in a 1980 classic but he also won three Wimbledon titles.

Prior to that 1980 final he was booed as he walked out after heated exchanges with officials during his semi-final against Jimmy Connors.

In a quite sensational final McEnroe won arguably the sport's greatest tie-break to take the match to a deciding set which he lost 8-6.

But he got his revenge 12 months later, in a campaign during which he coined the now-famous phrases "You cannot be serious" and "Pits of the World".

He beat Borg in the second of five successive finals and after losing to Connors the following year, he won back-to-back titles.

Both were one-sided straight sets affairs, the first against unheralded New Zealander Chris Lewis, the second an awesome destruction of his great American rival Jimmy Connors in only 80 minutes.

McEnroe's swinging, left-handed serve may not have been the hardest hit the game has ever seen, but the opponent was often almost in the seats before he could return it.

And his hands were so quick he could not only get to the fiercest of passing shots, he could put them away for a winning drop volley.

He never turned down the chance to play for the United States in the Davis Cup and would often wear his nation's tracksuit at other tournaments, thereby throwing away millions in sponsorship deals.

If McEnroe's light shined brightly, it also shined briefly.

By 1985, even McEnroe could not take it any more and he took a took a nine-month break from the game. He never won a Grand Slam championship again.

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Classic Matches: Borg v McEnroe
31 May 04  |  Wimbledon History


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