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John McEnroe was one of the most successful tennis players of his generation, winning seven Grand Slams. Other than his swashbuckling tennis, John was also known for being a motormouth. He wouldn’t hold back in interviews, and his famous ‘You cannot be serious’ outburst still gives us goosebumps every time we see it because of its intensity. 

This week, I’ll see the film Borg/McEnroe based on his rivalry with Bjorn Borg. Even though the drama maybe somewhat fictional, we are extremely excited about watching the match especially the Wimbledon 1980 final, which was a riveting five-setter with momentum swinging both ways, until Borg finally sealed the deal with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6 victory. 

I’ll also look forward to Shia LeBouf’s performance as John McEnroe, who knew he was a bit of a jerk. Let’s look at some of his most controversial remarks. 

At one point, he didn’t want to be No. 1 

“My motivation suffered from a combination of having kids and, for lack of a better term, going Hollywood. Appreciating the good life. I couldn’t seem to focus as  intently on the job at hand. It became less important to be number one — so I settled for No. 4. I was still making a ton of money; I was still the biggest guy in tennis. I just wasn’t the best guy,” he wrote in his autobiography You Cannot Be Serious

He claims to have no weaknesses

“My biggest strength is that I have no weaknesses,” he said. Well, being arrogant can be considered a weakness John. 

He thought Borg would give up in the Wimbledon 1980 final

“Borg’s won Wimbledon four straight times and out there he has just lost an 18-16 tie breaker. You’d think maybe once he’d let up and say forget it. But oh, no way,” he said about that epic encounter. 

He said something really nasty about Serena Williams

Here’s the exact transcription of the interview. 

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We’re talking about male players, but there [are] of course wonderful female players. Let’s talk about Serena Williams. You say she is the best female player in the world in the book.

MCENROE: Best female player ever — no question.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Some wouldn’t qualify it; some would say she’s the best player in the world. Why qualify it?

MCENROE: Oh! Uh, she’s not, you mean, the best player in the world, period?

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GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, the best tennis player in the world. You know, why say female player?

MCENROE: Well, because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit, she’d be, like, 700 in the world.

We think he wasn’t unfair in his assessment, but the statement did stir up a whole lot of controversy. 

If like us, you’re excited about the film, prepare for it by watching the trailer. 

John McEnroe being John McEnroe didn’t have nice things to say about the film. “Unfortunately, even though I wished it was a good movie, I don’t think it is a good movie, I’m sad to say,” he said after a Laver Cup match where he played as a senior player. 

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