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September 04, 2011

Roddick Kicks John McEnroe Out

Per NY Post: "A source at the US Open told us: “ {Andy} Roddick said he would only come up to the ESPN suite to be interviewed if McEnroe, who as an analyst had been commenting on his match, was told to leave. He said he wasn’t going up there if McEnroe was anywhere near the suite. McEnroe left without a fight, but during the interview you could see Roddick was still fired up about the criticism.”

While Roddick is one of the crankier tennis stars, his take on John McEnroe is right on. McEnroe is a superficial announcer and a front runner -- if the player is winning he's doing exactly what McEnroe says he should and he portrays the under-dog as a blundering chump, complete with attacks on their character and integrity -- unless the underdog starts winning then McEnroe does a flawless piroutte and claims he knew that would happen all along. 

More from the Post: "Roddick grimaced when asked about comments on his performance. He said being a tennis analyst is “the easiest job in the world,” adding, “Everyone is an expert, but I am better than most of them have been.”

The two clashed in June after McEnroe claimed tennis players should go out on the court “like boxers” without warming up, with Roddick hitting back, “That’s irresponsible.”

Roddick said in an interview, “I’ve been sitting around for 4 1/2 hours, and he [McEnroe] wants me to go serve 145 [mph].”

After Roddick lost at Wimbledon, McEnroe lobbed one back, saying he should “freshen up” his game now that he’s married to gorgeous Brooklyn Decker.

Andy Roddick SAP10 ©jfawcette

Reader Comments

No suprise about J McEnroe's approach to commentating. Besides egregiously unfair comments, he and co-commentators with him talk on endlessly, frequently serving as a distraction to watching the game. (By comparison, I listened to BBC broadcast with Boris Becker, Henmen, and another commentators. They were to the point, knowledgeable, and no extraneous self-indulgent comments to either try and dismiss a player nor honk their horns for their favorites.
But there are other bad slights. Take Fowler, for example. Ity's besides the fact that he adds comments that are supposed to add "colour" but are frequently ignorant, but I hear him make an unforgivable comment that insolently and ignorently and rudely dismissed a tennis player, and by implication, players in similar situations. I shall clarify.
At Roland Garros this year, Federer played an early round match against a Romaninan player, Adrian Ungur. He came through as a qualifier unexpectedly, and generally played lower level tournaments before that. I thought he acquitted himself reasonably well, considering his opponent.
But even is performance is besides the point. What Fowler said was something that the ATP or the French Open, or ESPN officials should have sacked him for. He said glibly, after Ungur lost, that the player "can go back to sliding around on the dirt in front of a handful of spectators to scratch out a living." This is almost verbatim, although, of course, it is a paraphrase in a way, since I am citing it by memory.
I found such a remark inexcusable. Additionally, there are other commentators who either have an agenda, or think that they are heightening the excitement by various dismissive or negative comments, or by praising others whom they really like, while disregarding any of those favorites' unfair behaviours.
To get back to the original comment, re Roddick and John McEnroe, it is indicative of McEnroe's attitude. He was very talented--more so than his idol Nadal--but I don't see other attributes that make him a good commentator. Yes, he knows about tennis, but says a lot of nonsense. One would think that he would treat his compatriot Andy Roddick with more respect. Roddick can be droll with the press, and sometimes generally brash, but he always plays fairly, straight on, no tricks, mindgames or time delays. He had worked hard for his country, too, and don't let anyone continue the myth that winning one grand slam title, and being number one for a while qualifies a player as a "one-slam wonder".
It is a very big thing to win a grand slam, especially when the rules are applied, and without taking advantage of timeouts and so on.
I do think that John McEnroe was trying to make some amends after Roddick lost, consequent to announcing his retirement. I thought that he should have been given recognition on the spot, as he well deserves it.
McEnroe did manage to slip in a little speech during the USO, sitting in a director's chair, and among other things saying that Roddick would be in the hall of fame in five years or so.
Since I discussed commentating in this post, I must admit that I fear for the future. Where are those who really know tennis from the inside, and with enough talent to do a credible and decent job? If we get commentators who casually switch at times from covering other sports, mainly team sports, then we get poor poor results.
Tennis commentating is important for the reason that it can help create a public perception of the general state of affairs in tennis, and of players in particular, especially with people who have not followed the sport for quite some time and trust the commentators' opinions. This, in turn, has an effect on spectators, as far as their expectations go, and their respect, too.
The tennis organizations should be actively involved in setting some standards. However, what can fans expect when even the rules are usually not enforced by umpires?
To Andy Roddick: you are already missed, straight shooter.

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