The tennis legend reflects on later stages of his personal life and career.
In a follow-up to his bestselling first memoir, You Cannot Be Serious (2002), McEnroe offers fans more glimpses into the storied career of an unassuming kid from Queens with “quick hands, good movement,” and a “smart tennis brain.” Now pushing 60 and over a decade out from his last major tour event, one of the greatest lefties ever to dominate both singles and doubles play presents an assortment of vignettes recalling pivotal moments on the court. He also reflects on the trappings accompanying that world-renown mastery, particularly as he attempts to redeem his thorny image as the anti-establishment “Jesus of Anger”—a pithy characterization offered by wife Patty Smyth, who weighs in on her husband’s character and episodes in their life. If one subject centers McEnroe’s account, it is the plight of the aging professional athlete “learning to cope with the impact the advancing years have on you,” made all the more challenging because pros “do it in public.” In addition to reckoning with physical changes—and as much as he likes to “moan about how badly selfies suck”—the author admits that, for him, “competing, performing and getting applause for what I do will probably always be the ultimate drug.” He paints his disparate forays into art collecting, sports commentating, coaching, game show hosting, guitar playing, being a bit actor, and now father of six all as attempts to fill that void. Tennis fans looking for more insight into the game will not be disappointed, as McEnroe rails against the sport’s elitism, the distraction of “grunting,” strategic bathroom breaks (“totally out of hand”), and the “annoying habit” of doubles partners opting to high-five “after missing a shot or double faulting.”
With his signature irreverence, tempered just a bit by age, McEnroe serves up a juicy, revealing look at how his tennis afterlife is playing out off the court.