The US Open kicks off next Monday, which means it’s time for publications around the city to trot out their one tennis story. Case in point: New York Magazine‘s John McEnroe tale, in which our conquering hero grows up, builds a tennis academy to help the kids, and calms down:
In the bowels of the building, McEnroe stopped. “See, I’m getting annoyed now,” he said, the decibel level rising. “I’m getting frustrated because things are not the way they’re supposed to be.” His echo bounced off the vestibule’s walls. And then he caught himself. He took a deep breath. “I guess that’s life,” he said. There was the smallest hint of a self-aware smile.
The story, written by former Philadelphia editor Larry Platt, contains some classic scenes – “I left my goddamned forehand in Europe,” he had grumbled to himself while, across the net, a 13-year-old nervously returned his sizzling groundstrokes.” – but also paints a portrait of a man who wants to help the sport that made him rich and famous.
John McEnroe wants to rejuvenate the sport in New York and, while he’s at it, save American men’s tennis, which hasn’t produced a class of champions since Sampras, Agassi, Courier, and Chang a generation ago.
Heady stuff. Of course, it’s the one tennis story you’ll see in New York this year, timed to the only event that matters to Gothamites. Which is totally fine. As long as we don’t have to read more breathless coverage about Roger Federer and Ms. Wintour.
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