John McEnroe: ‘Wimbledon will always be number one’

Tennis great and BBC commentator John McEnroe tells TV Times magazine why Wimbledon remains the best tournament in the world, and reveals Andy Murray’s chances of glory this year…
When you were growing up in New York, what were your thoughts about Wimbledon?
“It was this magical place in some far away land across the ocean that looked so aesthetically beautiful when you watched it on television, and it’s got this tradition.”

What makes Wimbledon so unique?
“Wimbledon, to me, was the tournament to win. And as long as I’ve been around it always has been and it always will be. Especially so now because it’s so unique as it’s the only event played on grass courts.”

Who do you think could win this year?
“I could make an argument for Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal winning. I would be hard-pressed to pick anyone else.”

Do you think Andy could edge it after his US Open victory over Novak last September?
“He’s tasted what it’s like to win a Slam and he should be as well prepared as he’s ever been to win. I mean some of it depends on luck, obviously, and the draw and who ends up playing whom. Clearly the pressure is going to be great on him, so that’s not going to be easy.”

What advice would you give him?
“Andy could do a little more work on his second serve, but all these things I think he’s improved upon. It certainly seems since he and coach Ivan Lendl got together that he’s moved in the right direction.”

What’s the best thing about Wimbledon?
“I think when you get to the nitty gritty, the second week, that’s really when things heat up and it gets really exciting. There’s nothing like walking onto court for a Wimbledon final.”

Did you ever get nervous playing on Centre Court?
“Oh yeah, you know, of course!”

How did you handle those nerves?
“Not very well. But I did my best, let’s put it that way. At times I failed miserably, but it was magical times for the most part.”

What’s it like commentating on the action these days? Do you get a buzz from being in the box?
“‘I do, yeah. And it’s a lot easier than playing now! I enjoy just being part of it in a small way. People love it for these couple of weeks and everyone seems fired up.”


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