Dec/19

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McEnroe’s “But Seriously” Book

It got about as much buzz as my Facing McEnroe book but “But Seriously” is also quite a good read. I picked it up last week and finished it in days. As always, John McEnroe never fails to deliver. The larger than life historic champion and iconic American pop culture figure has lived a fairy tale life as a New Yorker turned world champion, art collector/dealer, rock ‘n roll wanna be, family man, with houses all over the US – Malibu, Long Island, NYC, Idaho.

You learn a lot of inside information from “But Seriously.”

McEnroe’s failures as a coach for Becker, Bruguera and Philippoussis, the Scud could not control his party animal lifestyle and even supposedly slept with Paris Hilton, despite Mac’s urgings to focus on tennis.

McEnroe lost his membership at Queens Club when he told the club president’s wife “to get the fuck off my court.”

Raonic’s primary motive for asking McEnroe to coach him was because Milos wanted John “to help him express himself a bit more during the course of a match and translate his undounted physical power into a more commanding presence on the court.” Mac and co coach Carlos Moya told Milos before the Wimby final vs Murray, “The only way you’re going to win this is if you can match his emotional intensity. You got it?” Milos replied, “I got it.” Raonic led Murray 3-0 in the first set but Murray reversed his fortunes in four sets.

The book also details McEnroe’s forays into TV, The ill-fated talk show and game show The Chair.

There’s also a lot of glimpses into the music world, with anecdotes about his good friends Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. Wood looks up to Richards like a big brother hero. McEnroe was also friends with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who he golfs with. Mats Wilander’s charity once auctioned off 18 holes of golf with McEnroe and Waters. Mac joked the second prize was 36 holes.

Close encounters with President Donald Trump are also included, such as the $1m offer to play Serena or Venus, winner take all in 2000. The Williams sisters wanted no part of that showdown, despite how impactful it would have been to promote the sport and raise monies for charities.

The book is a super fun read with many pleasant surprises, like an essay by daughter Eva about her love for tennis but how hard it is to play tournaments with the name McEnroe. Also wife Patty Smyth contributes her perspectives of her husband and how they first met which humorously differs largely from John’s account.

As large a figure as McEnroe is, he also reveals the times he felt star struck meeting people he held in high esteem, which is hard to believe, considering that McEnroe is as popular or infamous as Tyson, Jordan, Ali, Gretzky…did you know McEnroe is the longest running Nike athlete under contract? The book is an excellent balance of entertainment and page turning disclosures.

Andy Warhol, Chrissie Hynde, Richard Branson, Ivan Lendl, getting bullied at Stanford by a football player, Saturday Night Live with Andy Roddick, the book is a roller coaster of entertainment.

It’s the quality of read that you can’t wait to find the juicy parts, you just open it up scanning for names an events, and then later flip around all through the book to find the parts you didn’t read yet.

Dear readers of tennis-prose.com would not be disappointed by grabbing this book and the other book it overshadowed, “Facing McEnroe.”

John McEnroe acrylic painting by Sarasota, FL based artist and 1972 Olympic silver medalist in Equestrian, Karin Billings.

125 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 2, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Shap is a new player now thanks to Youzhny.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 2, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Andrew, I was told by a Russian journalist Medvedev is from a wealthy family and they moved to nice when med was 7.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 2, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    Felix looks stronger, hitting bigger, serve got better.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 2, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    I like the tennis world site, short quick hit articles, like a news aggragate where they read scoops and rewrite them. They work hard and dispense a lot of information. Good site.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 2, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    Kyrgios deserves better treatment from media when he does good. When he does bad, the media crucified and condemns him. When he does good, media barely whispers about it. You would think the media would love a controversial character in the mix.

  • Hartt · January 2, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    Somehow Denis pulled off the win. It went to a 2nd set TB, and unfortunately Stefanos lost it with a DF.

    Denis faced a ton of BPs in the 2nd to last game, but stayed tough and finally held.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 2, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    Incredible match Shap vs Tsip. Every point was a long hard fought rally. No quick errors. High level high quality all the way. I don’t remember ever seeing a match like this, so fast paced, so intense and serious. Every rally was at least six shots. No bad errors. Amazing match. Shap was a little bolder little stronger at the end of each set. These two may play a major final in 2020.

  • Hartt · January 2, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    That was such an entertaining match – both guys are a lot of fun to watch, but I am so tense watching Shapo that I don’t enjoy it as much as I could.

    I totally agree that it was high quality. These two will have a terrific rivalry, especially since they are close in age. Stefanos is 8 months older than Denis.

  • Andrew Miller · January 2, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Medvedev parents said they planned for Medvedev to be born in France but Daniil had other plans :). Some of Tennis World reads like that (in fact some TTonic reads like a translation, they could tighten up their “prose” with some editing).

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 2, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    Hartt, they were both super intense and yelling cmons. I sensed there was no love lost between these two arch rivals. One of the best ATP rivalries now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 2, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Andrew, I think that site is based in Italy or Argentina. I played the editor in Miami open media tournament final two years ago, Mariano gombi from Argentina. It’s not in America.

  • Andrew Miller · January 2, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    Kyrgios gets praise when he does well and bleep when he acts poorly. Don’t know many other players that go after people aka fans and reporters on twitter and that show poor judgment taunting pro players regarding their girlfriends. And Kyrgios has done all of this.

    Sometimes awful behavior is awful behavior. Sometimes this site is too generous. Kyrgios earned his short term suspension. He also creates controversy unnecessarily. Sometimes he is just a normal young guy doing what young men do. I believe him when he says he never expected any of this and the leap from Aussie junior champion to big time tennis was way more than he imagined and that he loves basketball more than tennis.

    I hope he matures sometime. I don’t think it’s anytime soon. For Agassi it was around 27 to 28 years old.

  • Hartt · January 2, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Shapo is always vocal in his matches. They are both super competitive and I think Shapo now leads their h2h 3-1. I like both players, but of course root for Denis. And Denis often has dramatic matches like this one, which is hard on the nerves of a Shapo fan.

  • Jeff · January 2, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Just FYI, this is Jeff, not to be confused with Jon. We are not the same person. At least I think.

    Yes let’s all hope Australia survives and can get past this national tragedy

  • catherine · January 3, 2020 at 12:37 am

    Scoop – Mirza may be huge in India but she’s not as huge as Virat Kohli.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 12:55 am

    Kyrgios creates harmless drama and controversy sometimes. It’s a whole lot better than having another gasquet or kohlscheiber drone. Need more nicks. Controversy sells. The kyrgios show is enjoyable. Never know what your e gonna get. People love surprises and drama. Nothing Nick has done really bothered me, shouldn’t bother anyone. Stuff happens in the heat of battle.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 12:57 am

    Hartt, every rally was a battle, no short points. Both played high level at a frenetic pace. I loved this match. Very special match. I never saw a match like this before. Both really wanted it, both delivered A plus tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 12:58 am

    Catherine, no idea kohlscheiber has a brother named virat.

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 10:27 am

    These “exhibitions” are WAY more competitive than they should be technically. It’s as if the 2019 season never ended.

    That worries me a little because it’s an Olympic year and many players are fighting to make their home teams, which will carry into the day to day competition on the tour. It’s also stressful for the players (and exciting). But it will feel for them as if they have played “two years straight”.

    Unless they withdraw strategically from tournaments. Which I absolutely encourage – they should plan this out and be careful to play only as much as they need to play.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Agree, some exos are all out wars like Rafa vs Tsitsipas final two weeks ago. But the Fedzverev exo tour in S America was shall we say, contested with minimal intensity.

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 11:46 am

    TTonic: Woodbridge picks Andreescu to win Australian. Meanwhile, Andreescu may pull out of Australian. Also meanwhile, TTonic shows Zverev has a good looking romantic interest. TTonic…

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Thiem: “the last thing left for us to achieve is to conquer the Grand Slam stage; I think we will see a new Grand Slam champion in 2020”.

    Good statement from Thiem. Can he back it up? He seemed to be on the verge of doing so with his very fine work in the dead part of the season (aka indoors, the land of “nothing matters here”) but Thiem is smart to say that challengers to the big guys are most effective in the tournaments that are best of three sets.

    https://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/Roger_Federer/82255/thiem-wants-to-challenge-rafael-nadal-novak-djokovic-roger-federer-and-win-major/

  • catherine · January 3, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    If Bianca pulls out of Aust Open when is she going to start her season ? I haven’t read anything certain about this but my feeling is pretty strong that she won’t play.

    Exhos: Kerber w/draws from Hawaii v Collins because she hurts herself in a warm up and then a day later goes off hiking. She tells German tv she wants an Olympic Gold Medal. So expect more strategic w/drawals. This will be a dire year for tournaments. But expect Gauff to play everywhere 🙂

  • Hartt · January 3, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    There are a couple photos of Bianca in the Nike kit for Melbourne. It is not the most attractive outfit, but I hope she gets to wear it. Obviously it will depend on how her training goes and how the knee holds up.

  • Hartt · January 3, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Bianca’s last post on IG is a photo captioned “@ Nike lab,” so that must be when they did the photos.

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