John McEnroe to Save U.S. Tennis? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

John McEnroe to Save U.S. Tennis?

Bagelicious
08-23-2010, 10:14 PM
Here's a great profile on JMac and his new tennis academy:

http://nymag.com/news/sports/67633/

It's pretty long, but it's worth the read. It talks about his commitment to the academy, his failed stint as Davis Cup coach, his anti-establishment views and his rivalry with his brother Patrick, who's the head of the USTA player-development program.

Here's a brief excerpt:

Mark is the middle McEnroe boy; the youngest brother, Patrick, heads the United States Tennis Association’s player-development program, meaning that the brothers McEnroe will be competing against one another to discover and nurture the next great players, a competition that has already sparked some McEnroe family fireworks. Mark has just pointed out a girl who can’t be more than 12. John had seen her before at the facility; he’d hit with her and given her some pointers on her serve. But now Mark has told him her parents are thinking of homeschooling her so she can focus more on her tennis. That’s what touched a nerve in McEnroe, who believes that complete immersion in the sport from prepubescence on has created a generation of robotic, burned-out, and one-dimensional players. His way, what he aims to make the way, involves a more balanced approach, in which tennis is part of an elite prodigy’s life, not the definition of it. It’s how he sees tennis in his own life. Patrick, on the other hand, takes the more conventional approach: The sport is so competitive now that what worked for his brother may not work for other kids. Patrick and the USTA seem to view John as something of a romantic crank, however well-intentioned, bent on restoring the old ways.


Is US tennis in need of saving and if so, is he the guy to do it?

Sophocles
08-23-2010, 10:20 PM
Well, as far as that excerpt is concerned: McEnroe was able to lead a balanced life because he was extravagantly gifted. Even then, he was overtaken earlier than he should have been by a less talented but harder-working rival, Ivan Lendl. So unless he unearths a genius, I have my doubts.

Bagelicious
08-23-2010, 10:33 PM
I don't know, he makes a point when he says that taking a 10 year old and forcing them to dedicate their entire life to tennis may not be the best way either... You get the Donald Youngs and other tennis 'prodigies' who burn out even before they can get a pro career going.

r2473
08-23-2010, 10:45 PM
I don't know, he makes a point when he says that taking a 10 year old and forcing them to dedicate their entire life to tennis may not be the best way either... You get the Donald Youngs and other tennis 'prodigies' who burn out even before they can get a pro career going.

Is that Young's problem? He is just burnt out?

I guess the theory is, if we can produce a Sampras every generation, US tennis is in great shape. If we only produce a Roddick we are in trouble. I mean seriously, imagine if Roddick had won 4 or 5 majors. We wouldn't be hearing anything about the sorry state of US tennis.

To take this theory even further, the problem with US tennis is the same problem with tennis in all countries except Switzerland and Spain.

Sophocles
08-23-2010, 11:03 PM
I don't know, he makes a point when he says that taking a 10 year old and forcing them to dedicate their entire life to tennis may not be the best way either... You get the Donald Youngs and other tennis 'prodigies' who burn out even before they can get a pro career going.

Possibly. I guess I was thinking more of how hard they worked when they were actually competing on the tour. I've never tried to become a professional sportsman so I don't know what it takes.

MacTheKnife
08-23-2010, 11:07 PM
To take this theory even further, the problem with US tennis is the same problem with tennis in all countries except Switzerland and Spain.

Exactly !!

Fujee
08-24-2010, 02:14 AM
Send Mac to England, we need him more than the yanks. All we have for setting an example is serial overachiever "tiger" Tim Henman...sigh...

Roddickominator
08-24-2010, 03:13 AM
We need a Brad Gilbert "Win Ugly Academy".

pray-for-palestine-and-israel
08-24-2010, 03:38 AM
no england needs to invest in the inner city deprived areas

if there is one thing the russians have taught us is that nothing motivates you like a hungry stomach and greed

harvest the vast talent pool england possess, this is the country that built the modern world single handedly

invest in the young, and in 10 years time there will be 5 andy murray's playing

case
08-24-2010, 04:35 AM
this is the country that built the modern world single handedly



me thinks the brits still have that old mentality that they saved the world from the rest of us uncivilized heathens!;)
as an uncivilized heathen i guess i should thank you:worship:;)
from what i have read the scot in murray isnt too thankful to the brits


btw- i really dont mean to pick on you. it is late and i am in the mood to pick on someone

Johnny Groove
08-24-2010, 04:41 AM
We can do all we want, but there is a certain fire, a certain "it factor" that most kids simply don't possess.

A champion must have an undeniable love for the game first and foremost. He must WANT to win, he must WANT to work his ass off and dedicate himself to the game. You can't teach that.

straitup
08-24-2010, 05:10 AM
We can do all we want, but there is a certain fire, a certain "it factor" that most kids simply don't possess.

A champion must have an undeniable love for the game first and foremost. He must WANT to win, he must WANT to work his ass off and dedicate himself to the game. You can't teach that.

This. I love Mac's goals and ideas, I think it's a good idea to make sure up and coming tennis players have balanced, normal lives in a way. Obviously it needs to be ultimately up to the kid to decide how he/she wants to live his/her life, whether it be normal or if he/she just wants to focus on tennis full-time. The parents should be there to express their opinions and maybe help them out a little, but it's when parents almost "force" their children to live the home-schooled, training all day kind of life that'll burn them out.

But like GD said, you can work has hard as you want, but ultimately there's just going to be a few select people who seem to have it all, and those are going to be the most successful ones (provided they work hard still)