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A collection of quotes and thoughts by John McEnroe on seriousness, wife, Wimbledon, learning, life, fighting, tennis, sports, love, team, success and winning.

132 Famous Quotes By John McEnroe

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Former US Tennis Star

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Wiesbaden, West Germany

John McEnroe is an American retired tennis player, who is often regarded as one of the most extraordinary players in the history of tennis. His volleying skills and shot-making artistry made him highly popular. He is also known for his on-court bellicose behaviour that often landed him in vexation with tennis authorities and umpires. He bagged in 17 ‘Grand Slams’ including one mixed doubles, seven singles and nine men’s doubles. He also holds the record of winning eight year-end championships along with being the holder of nineteen ‘Grand Prix Super Series’ titles in his career. He triumphed thrice at Wimbledon and four times at the U.S Open. We have rounded some popular, interesting and famous catchphrases, quotes and sayings which have been excerpted from the eminent tennis star’s thoughts, opinions, interviews, utterances, on the court outbursts, memoirs, and life. Zoom through the list of most frequently quoted quotes and thoughts by John McEnroe.

The perception is I didn't get along with umpires, obviously, and I didn't, on the court. But off the court, we had a good vibe.

- John McEnroe

I don't take myself as seriously as I did when I was playing, and it works, and I think people see the self-deprecation in my commentary.

- John McEnroe

If you yell at your box, I'm not really sure it's something where it should be a penalty. It seems like you hurt yourself.

- John McEnroe

There's always a concern when you play the week before a major. That's not the easiest time for a scheduler or a promoter, I would think.

- John McEnroe

Women have it better in tennis than any other sport, but you shouldn't push them to play more than they're capable of playing.

- John McEnroe

In general, people are administered drugs too readily.

- John McEnroe

I would not have an event before the majors. I would build them up. It very rarely happens that a player plays the week before, wins the event, and then goes on to win the slam.

- John McEnroe

If you look at the top 100 players, you would see that the great majority of them have had at least a couple of surgeries. That tells me that we have to protect the players.

- John McEnroe

I would put tiebreakers in the fifth set, no question about it.

- John McEnroe

Do women golfers say they could go out and beat Tiger Woods?

- John McEnroe

I've seen tennis clubs close in Manhattan and garages put up in their place, and I'd sure like to be part of reversing that trend.

- John McEnroe

I had a harsh lesson in 1996, when I lost four times to Andres Gomez on clay.

- John McEnroe

I used to get two racquets a year. As you can imagine, they didn't last me too long.

- John McEnroe

Of course for your main rivals, you're going to get extra motivated for it, particularly if you haven't played him for a long time.

- John McEnroe

I can't speak for other people, but I still hate losing. When I did lose, I found it easier to yell than to cry. Guys aren't supposed to cry, are they?

- John McEnroe

As I got older and started moving up the ranking, the matches got more important, and my emotions ratcheted up. I guess I hid my real feelings behind the anger.

- John McEnroe

I was a Yankee fan until 1981. That was the year the Yankees were two up on the Dodgers and lost four straight. And George Steinbrenner apologized to the city.

- John McEnroe

I like John McCain, or he seems like a cool guy in a lot of ways. I don't agree with a lot of his policies, but he still seems like a cool guy.

- John McEnroe

I'm going to vote for Obama. I'm going for the change.

- John McEnroe

Nadal is one of the great champions - a class act.

- John McEnroe

I thought doubles was a good way for me to practice and get some reps in - I didn't like to train in the gym as much as players these days.

- John McEnroe

Kyrgios has got to look in the mirror if he wants to become a top player and win Grand Slams.

- John McEnroe

You can't give away points and games against someone like Murray. You're not going to make it to the top with that kind of effort.

- John McEnroe

I'm 56 years old. I like to get out on the court. I continue to try to play the best I can. Obviously, I'm nowhere near where I was when half this age. But I can still hit a pretty decent ball.

- John McEnroe

Sometimes my negativity worked to my advantage, and early in my career, it got me going. But you need to understand that you're not just fighting opponents, you're also fighting yourself.

- John McEnroe

I got a lot of publicity, but it steamrolled. Event organizers weren't used to that kind of behavior, so later, they tightened the rules.

- John McEnroe

I did a terrible job of composing myself. I was a spoiled brat from Long Island who benefitted from the energy of New York.

- John McEnroe

Look at Becker and Djokovic. If you look at Novak's record since Boris has been there, it's been phenomenal.

- John McEnroe

If you really want to get it more exciting, no linesmen. And have the players call their lines. That would make the game more exciting, I promise you. It would be awesome.

- John McEnroe

I can't advocate people not liking each other. But... I'd prefer it.

- John McEnroe

I always got along with Borg, who was my greatest rival. People like to see me and Connors, me and Lendl, go at it. We didn't like each other.

- John McEnroe

Nick Kyrgios, if you don't want to be a professional tennis player, do something else.

- John McEnroe

I can tell you from experience that when you get that pent-up and crazed, it can be distracting.

- John McEnroe

You look at a guy like Michael Jordan: I can't believe there will be other basketball players like him.

- John McEnroe

Why don't they go back to wood racquets? Then we would see the best tennis to be played.

- John McEnroe

I was always taught that you needed to be intense and never lose your focus.

- John McEnroe

What made my matches against Borg and Connors interesting was, comparing it to boxing, it was like a puncher and a counter-puncher.

- John McEnroe

I'm sure a lot of players say it, but winning is almost so you don't lose. The thrill of winning is not as great as the pain of losing.

- John McEnroe

The sting of losing is bad.

- John McEnroe

If they think I'm better at commentating than I was as a player, then I must be pretty darned good at commentating.

- John McEnroe

Sometimes you get hungrier when you taste it.

- John McEnroe

Roland Garros is the only one of the four majors that is 15 days, and that is too long.

- John McEnroe

Nadal and Roger Federer have great respect for each other. I think Novak Djokovic gets under those two guys' skin a little bit, and maybe they don't want to admit it, and I think that's, in a way, healthy.

- John McEnroe

I didn't get along with most of the players I played against, but the one guy I did get along with was my greatest rival, so it can be done.

- John McEnroe

I happened to be one of those guys who doesn't play much golf.

- John McEnroe

It's ironic - people used to want to suspend me and talk about how bad my behaviour was, but now they like it when I shout and scream.

- John McEnroe

If people do things without thinking them through, that rubs me up the wrong way.

- John McEnroe

I don't think enough players channel the energy of the crowd. If it's done properly, and you don't let anger overwhelm and distract you, it's like a shot of adrenaline in the arm, and it gets the crowd pumped up.

- John McEnroe

I'd never left America until I was 18.

- John McEnroe

There's a certain beauty and majesty to Wimbledon. The elegance, the way the grass looks on TV.

- John McEnroe

I remember when I was younger taking more pride in Wimbledon than the French. That and the U.S. Open - they were the ones I wanted to win.

- John McEnroe

I went on safari in South Africa just after apartheid had ended.

- John McEnroe

I've never seen a good tennis movie. They all were terrible.

- John McEnroe

I can barely remember what I was like 36 years ago when I was 21 years old.

- John McEnroe

What I think is frustrating for Americans is that it feels like more was going to change with Obama.

- John McEnroe

I would have thought that a woman would have become president before a black man.

- John McEnroe

I won't admit to having a poster of Borg on my bedroom door. But I certainly found him to be someone who got me way more into tennis.

- John McEnroe

Tennis was a white, upper-class sport, and I wanted it to be treated like other sports were.

- John McEnroe

I am someone who gets pretty worked up.

- John McEnroe

I'm generally happy, although my kids and wife may sometimes argue with that.

- John McEnroe

I thought if I looked back and evaluated my life, it would help me in the future.

- John McEnroe

I didn't serve and volley until I got to Wimbledon in '77.

- John McEnroe

Maybe I should have played two more Australians and two less Davis Cups? I could have had more majors and still have three Davis Cups when most people don't have one.

- John McEnroe

No one cares about the Davis Cup. How many people know I won five Davis Cups and seven majors, but that I rarely played the Australian Open?

- John McEnroe

The only thing 'championship' about Wimbledon is its prestige.

- John McEnroe

Believe it or not, I was a pretty shy youngster growing up.

- John McEnroe

When I was eight and a half, my parents moved to a part of Queens where there was a club nearby. We joined, and if you believe in someone up above, I think I was meant to play tennis.

- John McEnroe

This taught me a lesson, but I'm not quite sure what it is.

- John McEnroe

I think it's the mark of a great player to be confident in tough situations.

- John McEnroe

Things slow down, the ball seems a lot bigger and you feel like you have more time. Everything computes - you have options, but you always take the right one.

- John McEnroe

I had a similar year back in 1984 when I felt like I couldn't lose.

- John McEnroe

There's something deeply satisfying when it succeeds, but I'm not going to do another book just to put my name on something and make some money if it's not something I deeply care about.

- John McEnroe

I believe there's only one autobiography you can do.

- John McEnroe

I haven't seen a professional player come out of New York in over 20 years since my brother Patrick came out. Blake spent a few years in Harlem, but he moved to Connecticut when he was a kid.

- John McEnroe

But these guys learn so fast now, they sort of soak up the information, they're fearless. Those are the guys who learn from their mistakes and come back strong the next time.

- John McEnroe

Well I think that's probably one of a few, where I grew up in the City of New York, it's got a lot of energy, my parents are Irish-American so there was a bit of yelling going on in my house but it seemed normal.

- John McEnroe

I'll let the racket do the talking.

- John McEnroe

You're asking too much of the women. They shouldn't be playing as many events as men. If tennis is best served by women playing events with men, so be it.

- John McEnroe

My best tennis at my peak was when I played a lot of matches.

- John McEnroe

The mistake, if I made one, in the late 1980s, was thinking I needed to change my game.

- John McEnroe

If you're out there and things are going badly, are you going to cry or break down?

- John McEnroe

It's only human nature to want to know what you can do on your own or with someone else.

- John McEnroe

When I walk out there on court, I become a maniac... Something comes over me, man.

- John McEnroe

It seems like the richer you are, the more chance you have of paying less tax.

- John McEnroe

No other athlete in any sport has ever had to go through what I have to.

- John McEnroe

When I was 25, if you'd have said I was going to be a commentator, that would seem like, 'Oh, my God. That's a huge step down.'

- John McEnroe

We should reach out to people to try to go after the fans the way other sports do. Because we can't just depend on the fact that it is a great game.

- John McEnroe

If, in a few months, I'm only number 8 or number 10 in the world, I'll have to look at what off-the-court work I can do. I will need to do something if I want to be number 1.

- John McEnroe

When I was 15 and playing in Kalamazoo, I ran into a light pole on the side of the court and was knocked out for a little while - when I woke up, I was seeing stars!

- John McEnroe

I grew up watching Dr. J, and I was like, 'Oh my God, this guy is the greatest basketball player I ever saw.'

- John McEnroe

Jack Nicholson didn't get anything until he was in his thirties. You have to persevere and put yourself in positions, and sooner or later, you will break through.

- John McEnroe

I'm a tell-it-like-it-is kind of person; I don't like being misled or someone not telling the truth. That upsets me.

- John McEnroe

Sitting there clapping and smiling... it's difficult. You're like, 'Don't worry about it, you just double faulted, you just played a really dumb point. Keep positive.' Then more clapping. That would annoy me as a player.

- John McEnroe

I am finicky about making sure my sneakers are pretty tight. It is almost like a superstition for me.

- John McEnroe

London is great, but New York is the greatest city in the world.

- John McEnroe

Everybody loves success, but they hate successful people.

- John McEnroe

I like to be close to water and the ocean, particularly. I love to get out and body surf. I like mountain biking, too.

- John McEnroe

I'd love to see all the guys play their best because I think it's better for tennis.

- John McEnroe

To be involved in a senior tournament back in the States is very satisfying.

- John McEnroe

You have to keep persevering. An actor goes to a lot of auditions and doesn't get the part.

- John McEnroe