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John McEnroe is a world champion tennis player famous for his temperamental outbursts. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.
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Born February 16, 1959, in Wiesbaden, Germany to an air force father, John McEnroe moved to Queens, New York where he started his tennis education. McEnroe became one of the most successful and high-profile players in the history of tennis. Throughout his career he was hampered by his outbursts and tantrums. He is currently a tennis color commentator for NBC and CBS.
Professional tennis player. Born February 16, 1959, in Wiesbaden, Germany. McEnroe was one of the most successful and high-profile players in the history of tennis. Throughout his career, McEnroe won 17 Grand Slam titles, 77 career single titles, and 77 doubles titles.
In addition to John McEnroe's skill on the tennis court and championship career, he is best known for his aggressive and intense playing style as well as his rivalry with Swedish tennis player Bjorn Borg. "If you play John, you must play your best. He doesn't have any weaknesses," said Borg of McEnroe in the Lincoln Library of Sports Champions. In the 1980 Wimbledon final, which Mike Lupica of Esquire called the most famous match ever, Borg found out just how tenacious the talented and controversial southpaw from Queens, New York, really was. Unfortunately, mention of McEnroe is just as likely to call to mind images of abused racquets and berated linesmen as it is the devastating serves and volleys that led to 17 Grand Slam titles.
John Patrick McEnroe was born on February 16, 1959, in Wiesbaden, Germany, where his father, John McEnroe, Sr., was serving in the United States Air Force and his mother, Kay McEnroe, was a surgical nurse. He was the oldest of three sons. In 1963, his family moved to Douglaston, Queens, New York, where he was raised. At an early age, he exhibited unusually developed eye-hand coordination and athletic ability. According to his father, when John, Jr. was only two years of age, he could strike a ball with a plastic bat, and at age four he could hit it a considerable distance.
A pivotal series of events in McEnroe's career took place in 1977, after he graduated from high school. He was given the opportunity to play in Europe, where he won the French Juniors Tournament. Aiming for the Junior's title at Wimbledon, he had to pull out of the event when he qualified for the men's competition. Not only did he qualify for this important tournament, but he advanced to the semi-finals, where he was beaten by the more experienced Jimmy Connors, who won in four sets. At that time, McEnroe became the youngest man ever to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals. He also solidified his reputation as one of tennis' "bad boys" along with Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase. His disturbing and emotional outbursts were directed at linesman, opponents, and himself. Pete Axthelm from Newsweek noted later, "He is a young man who raised perfectly placed strokes to a high art form, only to resort to tantrums that smear his masterpieces like graffiti." Although McEnroe played somewhat inconsistently for the remainder of the year, he was voted Tennis magazine's Rookie of the Year for 1977.
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