Oct/10

21

Can McEnroe really, really hang with Wayne Ferreira?

I see that Phillipoussis kayoed Aaron Krickstein and Courier eeked out a win against Tarango. I don’t know what to make of these senior events. They’re intriguing. I know McEnroe is still playing at a high level, but can he really compete against the 39-year-old Ferreira if Wayne tries his hardest? I have to think he can because he played Rafter, a better player than Ferreira and younger, pretty even last year. But I was talking to Spadea yesterday and he said he went down to Manhattan Beach last week and played baseline games with Tarango and beat him three times, 11-4. As Vince said, “It wasn’t even 11-6 or 11-8, it was 11-4. Maybe it would’ve been different if we served, but in baseline games, he’s 43 and I’m 36 and it was no contest.” Now Spadea had a better baseline game than Tarango when they were both on tour, even though Tarango, Vince said, beat him badly a couple times early on in Vince’s career. But he emphasized 36 and 43, and I know as a player, my game has taken a hefty drop down from the ages of 43 to 50, but I also have an arthritic hip that has added to that decline. So I wonder how Johnny Mac can still play against good players a decade or more younger than him.

(Florida Tennis Magazine Feb 2010 cover photo of McEnroe was shot by Florida-based photographer Art Seitz.)

8 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 22, 2010 at 1:44 am

    McEnroe is a phenom. He is still extremely motivated and ultra competitive. he obviously is taking care of himself and treating his body properly. The ATP Tour Weekly show did a feature about his match with Lendl last week in France and Mac said in the prematch QA, “I’m definitely going for the jugular” with that smirk. He is just so fired up and loves to battle. His intensity is still at full force. In the hunger department, Mac wants it more than anybody else, more than Courier, etc.

  • Dan Markowitz · October 22, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Yes, but when he played Agassi at UCLA this summer, Agassi apparently beat him easily. And I remember seeing Agassi play Ferreira this year in a Senior match and it was very competitive. So it’s hard to say whether Mac can really compete against these top players, who are fit and a decade younger than he. I imagine it’s legit or at least the outcome is, if not, how close the match is. I know when we saw Mac play in Delray, he was not throwing any bones to Kriek and Gomez so I imagine, unless the tournament director tells a Ferreira not to embarrass Mac, that it’s a fair and square match.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 22, 2010 at 2:26 am

    I get what you are scooping at, McEnroe is the meal ticket, so goes the senior tour as goes McEnroe. He is still arguably one of the biggest names and attractions in men’s tennis, the biggest draw after Federer and Nadal. If McEnroe stops playing, senior tennis may not survive, if Agassi and Sampras elect to do their own tours. But you and I heard Gilad Bloom tell us how well McEnroe is playing, how much harder he was to play than Rios last year. Whatever, one thing is for sure, when he plays in NYC next summer and in Feb. in the rematch with Lendl, we will be watching and enjoying the action.

  • Dan Markowitz · October 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    You’re right, for all intensive purposes, does anyone want to see Phillipoussis, Courier and Chang play without McEnroe in the event? Maybe if you had Pete and Andre and Becker and Borg there would be interest, but no one’s paying and going out of their way to see Tarango, Arias and Krickstein.

    Since Mac beat Ferreira in straight sets, 7-2 in breaker, I guess you have to say that the guy is just playing at an amazing level. We thought that when we saw him play Roddick in WTT this summer. The hands are still great, the quickness to the net for a 51-yr-old is amazing and the competitive fire still burns bright.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    McEnroe is the draw. In boxing its’ the same thing, Ali was the draw no matter who he is fighting. Same with Manny Pacquiao today and the Klitschkos in Germany. John McEnroe is vital to the senior tour, without him it might not succeed. Agassi will be the next guy that the senior tour will need, don’t think Sampras can carry the load on his own, do you?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Tarango said “They should have a steamometer for the match – to measure who has more steam coming out of their ears.” Boy you get the feeling this is going to be a major grudge match, based on what RIP said that these two have had some problems with each other in the past. Hope they televise this one could be a classic.

  • vinko · October 23, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Speaking of Jeff Tarango, in Andre Agassi’s book he said that Jeff Tarango was a cheater and even cheated him as an 8 year old. Tarango said he never played Andre in juniors and Andre made it all up. Does anyone know who is accurate? I assume if they can get Andre and Tarango in a senior event they could promote their dislike for one another.

  • Dan Markowitz · October 23, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Mac wins 4 and 4, truly amazing, but I don’t think Mac can beat any of the three players that still remain, Phillipoussis, Courier and Chang, maybe Chang because he hasn’t been playing much, but not if Chang is running down balls.

    Maybe I’m selling Mac short, as I was against Ferriera, but you’re talking about a guy in Phillipoussis, who hits the ball so much harder than Mac, and all three of them are a full decade or more younger. Too bad these events aren’t televised by Tennis Channel.

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