Our website uses cookies. By using our website and agreeing to this policy, you consent to our use of cookies.

Mag By So Press

Top 20 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas' players: John McEnroe (1st)
Close

Top 20 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas' players: John McEnroe (1st)

 

1. Because he made the competition trendy again when no one else was playing it…

... unlike Björn Borg or Jimmy Connors, who quickly gave up on the competition to focus on major individual tournaments. This was also Ivan Lendl’s case later on. On his side, John McEnroe, despite taking a break between 1985 and 1986, at a time when everything made him angry, remained faithful to the Davis Cup from the start of his career until the very end. And blaming a busy schedule was always out of the question. In 1979, John McEnroe had already competed in 103 matches before the start of the Davis Cup final between the USA and Italy, a final in which he won the two singles matches in which he played.

 

2. Because he broke tons of records...

... with, notably, 5 triumphs (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1992), a record in the Open era! During the 1981 edition, he won 12 points for the USA, the maximum amount possible: nobody has ever equaled this performance since the creation of the World Group. Not bad either, his win percentage in the competition: 83,67% in the singles and 90% in the doubles, which is huge when you take in account the number of matches he has played (69 in total, over 14 years). From John McEnroe’s Davis Cup years, we also remember his three matches which lasted more than 6 hours. This « feat » is less famous: during the eighties, the American played in three of the four matches which lasted longer than 360 minutes in this decade. And it happened, every time, in the Davis Cup. In 1980 against Jose Luis Clerc (6h20), in 1982 against Mats Wilander (6h22), and in 1987 against Boris Becker (6h20). Of course, McEnroe only won the second of these three matches, but the three have profoundly marked their era, by their unique length and the drama offered by the incredible actor which McEnroe was. Looking exhausted during his match against Wilander, the American ended up calling the linesmen communists.

 

 

3. Because the Davis Cup really drove him crazy...

... notably during the 1981 final against Guillermo Vilas and José Luis Clerc’s Argentina. Which was followed by a dubious quote after the USA’s triumph. « I absolutely wanted to win. It was, to me, a question of superiority of the USA over Argentina. » During the doubles match which he won 11/9 in the fifth set, with Peter Fleming against Clerc and Vilas, McEnroe insulted the Argentine captain, and obviously the lines who, according to him, were too loud when they announced their decisions. A scene which the president of the International Federation, at the time, couldn’t stand to watch. He even decided to leave his box, and watch the end of the match on TV in the press room. « I couldn’t stand his rudeness. » A good idea: a few minutes later, the Americans were seconds away from getting into a fight with their opponents, after a litigious decision announced by the umpire.

 

4. Because he didn’t need a captain...

... It’s one of the most striking scenes ever witnessed in the Davis Cup: McEnroe turning his back on his captain Arthur Ashe (and not the opposite) at each change of sides. Therefore, both men didn’t communicate whatsoever, and Ashe couldn’t give him any piece of advice, or encourage him. These days, we see McEnroe being much more expressive now that he is the captain, in the Laver Cup notably…

 

5. Because he ended his career with a last triumph…

... the fifth, at the start of December 1992, in Forth Worth. On the Friday, Andre Agassi crushed Jakob Hlasek but Marc Rosset managed to defeat Jim Courier. 1-1. It was the moment chosen by John McEnroe to score a crucial point in the doubles, on Saturday, against the pair formed by Rosset and Hlasek. Alongside Pete Sampras, the senior player produced one of the most impressive turnarounds of his career (6/7 6/7 7/5 6/1 6/2). This was John McEnroe’s last Davis Cup match, as he retired at the end of this 1992 season. If he could have wrote the scenario of the end of his career himself, he would probably have written the exact same thing.