Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, through their remarkable careers in tennis, have secured themselves as two of the best to have ever stepped onto the court. Growing up, McEnroe talked about idolizing Connors, as the American left a great legacy behind. On the other hand, McEnroe’s various on-court outbursts landed him in trouble many times with officials and chair umpires. Many used to call him ‘Superbrat’ for his various on-court activities. However, Connors once defended McEnroe for his on-court antics, as he talked about his impact on tennis.
Jimmy Connors defended John McEnroe regarding his on-court antics
After his retirement, Jimmy Connors used to do commentary and cover tennis matches. During one of the interviews in 1991, he talked about tennis and players like John McEnroe and their personalities on the tennis court. According to him, people wanted to see players like McEnroe and the on-court entertainment that comes with him.
Notably, McEnroe was defaulted from tournaments many times for his outrageous on-court behavior, including kicking and spitting. Speaking about it, Connors said, “You default a player like McEnroe, you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face. He’s the guy people come out and see. I wasn’t paying attention to who he was playing, but I’m sure the people weren’t there to watch him.“
Notably, McEnroe won 7 Grand Slam singles titles in his career. Whereas, Connors won one more than the ‘Superbrat’ McEnroe.
McEnroe’s famous outburst at the Wimbledon Championships
In 1981, at Wimbledon Championships, John McEnroe was playing against Tim Gullikson in the first round. During the match, the line judge called a ball out, which the chair umpire did not overrule. Then, McEnroe went to the chair umpire to ask some questions. After a few words, he completely lost his cool and said, “YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! (in loud voice) That ball was on the line, chalk flew up.”
“It was clearly in. How could you possibly call that out! He (Gullikson) walks over, everyone in the whole stadium knows it’s in and you call that out?… You guys are the absolute pits of the world,” he further added. Later, McEnroe released his autobiography and named it ‘You Cannot Be Serious’. Notably, he regretted his behavior on that day, and later apologized for it.