Tennis Prose



New York Post’s Steve Serby Recalls Encounter With Fiery Teen Named John McEnroe

At a recent New York Mets game at Citi Field, the long-time New York Post Columnist Steve Serby shared a memory he had of covering a certain high school tennis player by the name of John McEnroe.

“He (McEnroe) lost 6-4 6-0 to Larry Gottfried in the Columbia Junior Tennis Championships when he was like 15 maybe, 16 at the most. I remember that I wrote he got ‘creamed’ by Larry Gottfried in The Post. And a few days later on my way, walking to the U.S. Open at Forest Hills, he saw me and started screaming at me, ‘What do you mean I got creamed?! Whataya mean?!’ And this is before we knew that McEnroe had the volatile temper that he did.”

“So I said, ‘You lost 6-4 6-0.'” He was in no mood to hear any explanation from me. He was not happy that I wrote that he got creamed in the finals.”

A couple of decades later Serby and McEnroe crossed paths again, but this encounter was far more amicable. “About twenty years later when I saw him at the Open we laughed about it. But it’s funny, that really I was the first one to really feel the McEnroe wrath. Now I know what the judges feel like [laughter].”


  • Gans · September 18, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Cool insiders story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 18, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Thanks Gans, I get a kick out of personal anecdotes like these also. There must be some many of them out there about guys like McEnroe, Federer, etc. You might be interested to know I’m working on a book with a lot of memories and inside stories like this, on Federer. Kind of like my Rios book. I’ve collected a lot, but need a lot more.



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