Tennis Prose



John McEnroe Acrylic Painting By Karin Billings

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In this world of short attention spans and multi-tasking and the focus on cell phones, it’s difficult sometimes to notice beautiful art, to really notice it.

This acrylic painting of John McEnroe arrested my attention at the Sarasota Open. The artist is even more intriguing than her work. Karin Billings is a woman of many, many talents.

She, then known as Karin Schluter, won a silver medal at the 1972 Olympics Games in Munich, Germany, in equestrian. Originally from Hamburg, she married an American and moved to the United States where she now resides in Sarasota, Florida.

She’s also an avid golfer.

Her artwork can be of anything, nature, horses, an alligator, flowers, hummingbirds. She has a gallery in downtown Sarasota and also a web site

This painting of John McEnroe is the best I’ve ever seen of the iconic New Yorker sporting legend. It may even be the best painting of a tennis player I’ve ever seen.

Move over Monet, Van Gogh, Dufy, Neiman, Picasso, I’d put Karin Billings on the same wall.






  • Dan Markowitz · May 23, 2019 at 3:31 am

    I like it. If I’m going to nit-pick, Mac’s back leg in the drawing seems twice as long as his front leg.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 23, 2019 at 9:53 am

    It accentuates the ballet aspect of McEnroe’s athleticism. “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” – Herman Melville.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 23, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Yes, thanks for pointing that out. Now I can see the artist’s intent. I’m too much of a literalist. Great quote, by the way.

  • Hartt · May 24, 2019 at 6:17 am

    I have done a lot of drawing, and my first response to Dan’s comment was that is how his legs would look in that position, although the artist may have exaggerated that slightly. There is a recent photo of FAA in a very similar position, except he is facing the other way. His legs look much the same as John’s in the painting.

    I wish I could copy the photo here, it is terrific. FΓ©lix’s position in the air is very graceful, and creates a dramatic shadow.

  • catherine · May 24, 2019 at 8:27 am

    There are quite few photos of McEnroe in this position (‘Facing McEnroe’ very similar). It was one of his signature shots. To me the perspective of the legs seems a bit off, but then it’an artwork, not a photo.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 24, 2019 at 8:31 am

    If Felix serve and volley for two weeks straight five hours a day I think his athleticism would expand and adapt to McEnroe level.

  • Hartt · May 24, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Scoop, I think FAA continues to work on his net game, but 5 hours a day of serve and volley sounds pretty boring! πŸ™‚

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 24, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Okay, alternate each hour serve and volley and then work on return of serve and attack off the return and move forward πŸ™‚



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