Debuting on Wednesday, July 7, 2004, Tennis Legend John McEnroe will host CNBC's "McEnroe" (M-F, 10-11 p.m. ET/PT), bringing his deeply imbedded passion for news, music, entertainment and sports to viewers. McEnroe will be joined by an ensemble cast of contributors that serve up insight and information about the stories and headlines of the day, in all areas of news, sports and entertainment. John McEnroe embodies the American spirit. His relentless pursuit of perfection, combined with a technical mastery honed through years of competition, have made him a popular champion and a tennis legend. An All-American and NCAA Champion as a freshman at Stanford University in 1978, he reached the semifinals of Wimbledon as an 18 year old amateur preparing to go to college and gave notice of greatness to come. He won his first Grand Slam singles title in 1979 when he won the first of four U.S. Open Championships. In 1981, he took the first of his three Wimbledon singles titles, becoming the youngest #1 ranked man in history of professional tennis. He continued his march toward greatness by holding the top ranking for the next four years. John McEnroe captured seven grand slam singles championships and with ten grand slam doubles championships is considered by most experts to be the greatest doubles player in the history of the game. While his outstanding contributions to the sport of tennis are known internationally, to whatever extent formal validation was needed, it was put in place during the summer of 1999. In August, John was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, taking his place among the immortals of the sport. In September during the United States Open in Flushing Meadows, New York, the United States Tennis Association announced John's selection as the thirty-seventh Captain of the United States Davis Cup Team for the 2000 campaign.
With more than 150 singles and doubles titles to date, John has compiled an unparalleled record of achievement and raised the level of the game itself. One of his proudest achievements was leading the USA to five Davis Cup titles. In fact, he holds the record for the most U.S Davis Cup wins in singles (41) and in singles and doubles combined (59). But if competing on the court is John's passion, it is by no mean his only interest. John's knowledge of the game and magnetic personality have made him an instant hit as a network television commentator. He now offers his insights and unique style for a variety of television networks, including CBA, NBC, USA, and the BBC, and he has also commentated in the past for EuroSport and Australia's Channel 7. John recently expanded his on-camera work to extend beyond the realm of sports as host for the ABC-TV primetime reality game show, "The Chair."
His busy schedule includes overseeing The John McEnroe Gallery in the Soho area of New York City, where he showcases the work of contemporary artists. John has founded and is actively involved in the the John McEnroe Foundation, an organization established to distribute grants and pledges to a wide variety of charitable organizations. An accomplished guitarist, John has led The Johnny Smyth Band in a series of concerts throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. For the past two decades, John has served as a spokesman for some of the world's most recognizable brand names.
Still playing with his trademark intensity, John competes in the Champions Tour as well as tournaments and special events in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Since his 1995 Champions Tour debut, he has won 33 singles titles and three doubles titles.
On and off the court, McEnroe has proven himself to be one of the most intriguing and controversial public figures of his time. During his playing years, his bold and irreverent style made him, for many, a symbol for a generation of "rock n' roll" athletes. Since leaving the court, his unique commentary and style in the broadcast booth have garnered him national Sports Emmy nominations, while his style on the page made his 2001 memoir, "You Cannot Be Serious," #1 on the New York Times' Best Seller list, as well as a #1 best seller in the UK.
While his exploits have made "Mac" an international celebrity, to Kevin, Sean, Emily, Anna, Ava and Ruby, he's still just "Dad." A concerned and loving parent and role model, John was the recipient of the 1996 National Father of the Year Award from the National Fathers Day Council.
For the past two decades, John McEnroe has set the standard for excellence both on and off the court.
List of Achievements:
A #1 New York Times' Best Seller, "You Cannot Be Serious"
7 Grand Slam Singles Championships
3 Wimbledon Singles Championships
4 U.S. Open Singles Championships
5 U.S. Davis Cup Championships
10 Grand Slam Doubles Championships
5 Wimbledon Doubles Championships
4 U.S. Open Doubles Championships
1 French Open Mixed Doubles Championships
7 Masters Doubles Championships
154 ATP Tour Singles and Doubles Titles
36 Champions Tour Titles
NCAA Singles Champion at Stanford University
1999 Induction in the International Tennis Hall of Fame
2000 Davis Cup Captain
John McEnroe changes his priorities as a parent of 6 children
The former bad boy of tennis, John McEnroe has spoken about how anger management and family life have helped to transform him.
In an interview the seven Grand Slams winner famed for his tantrums on court as well as his genius with a racquet told how maturity and his role as a parent had made him want to discover where he was heading in life.
"As you become a parent your priorities change and as you get older you look at things a little bit differently," he said. "If it takes going to see a psychiatrist or anger management guy or psychologist or whoever the hell it takes I'm willing to try to do that."
John McEnroe is one of the most memorable tennis champions of modern times having won 77 Singles Titles. He has recently reinvented himself as one of the sport's most popular figures and commentators and as the doting father of six children.
The tennis champion however went on in the interview to call tennis a "frustrating game" and explained what drove him to his notorious outbursts on court as a player. "I would call it total intensity and competition as opposed to total rage. Total rage is a far different situation," he said.
McEnroe who became just as famous for his colourful private life as his sporting achievements also commented on his first marriage to Oscar winning actress Tatum O'Neal claiming that the marriage broke up because "we were in over our heads".
He also spoke about his childhood and parents claiming he was a "shy" and "obedient" child with "competitive and driven" parents. But he revealed that he has a secret desire to become a politician in the future. When asked however whether we are looking at the next President of the USA, he replied, "you cannot be serious".
Johnny Mac, don't ever change
John McEnroe has hit the headlines once more with allegations of drug taking and a new best-selling memoir, Serious. Though now in his 40s, and enjoying a lucrative career as a commentator, has Superbrat ever really grown up?
For sheer elegance, lawn tennis has few peers. Conjuring up images of endless summer afternoons, cream teas and genteel athleticism, the sport reached its apotheosis in the youthful suburban passions of the poet, Sir John Betjeman.
"Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn."
But then along came John Patrick McEnroe Jr., of Queens, New York, to shatter the illusion and make Miss J Hunter Dunn turn in her grave. Few of us probably remember the year, let alone the match, which propelled Superbrat to eternal sporting infamy. Actually it was the first round of Wimbledon in 1981: McEnroe's opponent, Tom Gullikson.
When Gullikson went ahead 4-3 in the opening set, McEnroe, already established as the sport's foremost troublemaker, exploded. Warned by umpire Edward James - whom he now calls "a pleasant enough middle-aged man" - after smashing his racquet, McEnroe responded and a new catchphrase was born. "Man, you can not be serious!"
A disputed Gullikson serve in the third set saw McEnroe demand to see the tournament referee, Fred Hoyles, before tossing in another bon mot: "You guys are the absolute pits of the world, do you know that?"
Later in the same tournament - which McEnroe went on to win - he called another umpire "an incompetent fool," bringing a $10,000 fine, later rescinded.
In his newly-published memoirs, entitled Serious, a contrite McEnroe says that he "felt terrible" about his behaviour. And some years ago, he told his biographer, Richard Evans, "When I walk out there on court, I become a maniac. Something comes over me, man." Though other players before him - most notably Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase - ranted, raved and berated umpires, McEnroe took outrageous behaviour, and sheer playing genius, to a whole new level.
Born in 1959, the son of a self-made New York lawyer, John McEnroe burst upon the tennis scene in 1977, after being coached by the legendary Harry Hopman at Long Island's Port Washington Academy. The 18-year-old amateur won the first of his 17 major titles in the mixed doubles at the French Open.
Qualifying for Wimbledon, he reached the semi-finals before being knocked-out by Jimmy Connors. In doing so, he laid down the marker for a spectacular career. left-hander, McEnroe at the height of his powers combined a vast, windmill-like, serve, with breathtaking delicacy. Naturally aggressive, he also had the patience and artistry to master the baseline game and shot-making skills every bit as outrageous as his temper.
Together with Peter Fleming, he dominated men's doubles, too, winning nine Grand Slam tournaments. 1980 brought the match for which he will probably always be remembered. A thrilling five-set Wimbledon final with Bjorn Borg saw McEnroe rescue the fourth set after facing five championship points. The final set, which went to the Swede, 18 games to 16, was pure theatre, the Nordic ice man prevailing against the young, ill-mannered, upstart with a voice like a New York cabbie.
The following year, it was McEnroe who came out on top, ending Borg's 41-match Wimbledon-winning run. Victories there followed in 1983 and 1984. The latter, a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Connors, with only two unforced errors, was probably McEnroe's greatest moment. His final hurrah at Wimbledon came in 1992 when he and Michael Stich won the men's doubles. "It was a great atmosphere," McEnroe said later, "a great way to go out."
John McEnroe's private life has mirrored his professional one. A six-year marriage to the actress Tatum O'Neal, with whom he had three children, ended acrimoniously in 1992. She has recently accused McEnroe of having used steroids to improve his performance. Though obviously upset, he has stopped short of denying the allegations.
Now married to the rock singer Patty Smyth, with whom he has had two daughters, McEnroe is very much a family man. "To me," he says, "the ultimate is sitting around a dinner table and it's just all of us there." Having given up his ambition to be a rock star, McEnroe panders to his other great love, modern art, by owning a gallery in Manhattan.
He commentates on tennis tournaments around the world and his television quiz show, The Chair, is about to come to the UK. And he is still to be seen on court, in the Champions Senior Tennis Tournament, playing exhibition matches against Borg, Connors and Henri LeConte.
But McEnroe is still prone to his old antics, still comes out with the occasional obscene outburst and continues to rail against the sport's "phonies and elitists".
Though he has many celebrity friends, including Sir Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, it was Jack Nicholson who paid McEnroe his favourite compliment. "Johnny Mac, don't ever change."
The truth is that, like it or not, he hasn't.
Star of Tennis but Not TV, McEnroe Loses His Talk Show
John McEnroe has long been in the tennis pantheon, but yesterday he joined another, less distinguished one, with almost as many famous names: the list of failed talk show hosts.
CNBC, where Mr. McEnroe's show made its debut in July to modest ratings that quickly became dismal, announced in an e-mail message to employees that the hourlong show would stop taping by the end of the year.
Officials at the network, whose focus as a business news channel has left it struggling to find prime-time viewers, said that the show would be replaced in its 10 p.m. slot by another CNBC talk show, "The Big Idea," whose host is Donny Deutsch, the outspoken
"John and the show consistently had top guests and people from all over the world waiting on line to be part of our in-studio audience," he added.
But attracting television viewers to Mr. McEnroe's quirky, sometimes funny banter proved to be much harder. The show, called simply "McEnroe," averaged 174,000 viewers in its first week on the air, compared with about 200,000 drawn by its predecessor, a news program with Brian Williams. On the Fox News Channel, during the same hour as Mr. McEnroe's, Greta Van Susteren drew an average of 1.8 million viewers.
By August, Mr. McEnroe's viewership was declining sharply and at least once dropped below 40,000, earning the show a 0.0 rating by Nielsen Media Research and the inevitable headline tennis puns about Mr. McEnroe's being unable to score. He joins a long list of celebrities - Queen Latifah, Sharon Osbourne, Martin Short, Chevy Chase and Magic Johnson, to name a few - who have been unable to create the elusive chemistry that a successful talk show needs.
The show's failure is another disappointment for CNBC, which has not only failed to draw the kind of audience it wants for its evening programming but has also watched its overall average viewership drop by 50 percent since the height of the stock market in the late 1990's. The network's executives point out that Nielsen measures only home viewing, while much of CNBC's occurs outside the home in offices. But the drop is still troubling for NBC Universal Television Group, the channel's parent, especially at a time when Rupert Murdoch has announced plans for the Fox News network to create its own business-news channel.
Jeff Zucker, president of the television group and a friend of Mr. McEnroe's, said in August that despite the declining ratings, CNBC would stick by the show, which he said was showing promise. That same month, Woody Fraser, a veteran producer who had worked for Dick Cavett, Mike Douglas and other talk show greats, was brought in to help, but left after little more than a month.
Mr. McEnroe's manager, Gary Swain, did not return telephone calls yesterday asking Mr. McEnroe to comment about the cancellation.
In an interview with The New York Times in October, Mr. McEnroe acknowledged that it had taken him a while to settle in to the role of host but that he believed that the show was improving, despite the ratings. "Do I wish ratings were high enough that people wouldn't take potshots at me, like I wasn't even on the radar, and only three people were watching?" he said. "Sure."
He was able to land some high-profile guests like Sting, Howard Dean, his fellow tennis star Andy Roddick and Will Ferrell, who helped boost the show's notoriety on its first night, when he and Mr. McEnroe burst onto the CNBC news set during a live broadcast and Mr. Ferrell kissed Sue Herera, one of the anchors, on the lips.
Mr. McEnroe - who was also the host of a short-lived ABC game show in 2002 called "The Chair" - said he partly blamed a lack of promotion for the show's poor performance. It was mostly advertised on CNBC's daytime shows, whose ratings themselves had decreased, and not on the much more widely watched NBC. "We haven't had a promotion on NBC during 'Law & Order,' " he complained in the October interview, but he added that his loyal viewers were starting to warm to the idea of him as a good conversationalist and not just a formerly temperamental tennis star.
"At least," he said, "the feedback is they're starting to accept that I won't go out and yell at someone."
John McEnroe Show on CNBC
Please, Johnny Mac, give us just one more temper tantrum for those of us who watched you dominate and intimidate the tennis landscape. Then we would have a compelling reason to watch your talk show. John McEnroe is hardly Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien. He only tries to play them late at night.
But the four-time U.S. Open singles champion, eight-time Wimbledon (singles and doubles) victor and Class of 1999 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee comes up woefully short on "McEnroe" (10 p.m. and 1 a.m., weeknights, CNBC).
McEnroe picked one person to make an appearance every day last week - Playboy's Miss November 2004. Proving why models only get paid to look good, Thursday's show began with Miss November in a skit in which she explained how she fell for "a bad boy" while on "McEnroe's" set all week. Turned out to be Darth Vader. • Upon his introduction of comedian Jim Florentine, McEnroe shook his hand - then asked if he had pronounced his name correctly.
Is there an audience? When Florentine explained his role on Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers," you could hear a pin drop, forcing Florentine to ask the crowd if anyone had heard of the show. The theme music is plain. There's no band. McEnroe's entrance has no flair. And it usually takes a few seconds to differentiate when he is being serious or trying to tell a joke. Other than that, great show. One remote.
New York Times Best Sellers
Actor Ryan's daughter (she says she smoked dope with him), John McEnroe's ex-wife, ex-junkie—Tatum O'Neal tells it all in her autobiography, "A Paper Life." She spoke with Nicki Gostin.
How has your family reacted to the book?
So far the reaction from my side of the family has been pretty bad. That's not a shocker when you lift the blanket on a family history like mine.
So your dad is this hotheaded Irish guy, then you marry a hotheaded Irish guy. Did you realize that you were marrying your dad?
Well, you know what Oprah says: we do this to figure ourselves out, and this is the process. I actually think that's really profound. Also, I was 20 when I married John, so you gotta cut me some slack. Like, how evolved was I?
You were friends with Michael Jackson. When your boys were little, would you have let them stay over at Neverland?
Absolutely not. Are you kidding?
So do you think he's guilty?
Ah, Jesus juice... I really don't know. I don't understand why he would have little children around all the time. He's guilty of being a completely misguided soul in the world.
You had a bitter divorce. Any advice for women about to marry?
I would say, always work.
What about prenups?
If I had $50 million and I was marrying someone like Kevin Federline, I would have a prenup. And I'd make sure he pulled his pants up and wore real shoes.
Fighting talk from John McEnroe
John McEnroe will be fit, ready and intent on teaching the newcomers a thing or two when he arrives in London for The Masters Tennis presented by Cunard at the Royal Albert Hall, 30th November – 5th December. The American, who today received a wild card into the 12-man field of champions, warned former Grand Slam tournament winners Jim Courier, Richard Krajicek and Sergi Bruguera – all more than ten years his junior and newcomers to the Delta Tour of Champions – to watch out.
“Put it this way, if I play my best, these guys that came in recently may not know what hit them,” said McEnroe. “I’ll be ready. I feel like kicking some ass. I can hardly wait. As a matter of fact, I would bet money on myself. I believe in my tennis playing ability, particularly on the indoor surface that they have at the Royal Albert Hall.”
Despite winning the season-ending event in London four times, including last year, 45-year-old McEnroe has struggled this season, only winning a single match in the two events that he has entered, and pulling out of the tournament in Brussels last week because of a back injury. According to McEnroe, the five losses he endured were mostly a result of the surface that the matches were played on – red clay – his least favourite.
As for the back injury that he initially began to feel six weeks ago, he does not expect it to cause a problem. “It’s getting better, I’m going to be alright for London,” said McEnroe.
“It’ll be nice to get a chance to play when I’m healthy for a change. I’ll certainly be better than I was at the other two tournaments, that’s for sure. I hurt my back just before the Paris tournament at the start of October, and when I was there I couldn’t move to save my life. I needed a month or so to get better, so by the time London comes round I will be able to show what I’m made of.”
Sweden’s Mikael Pernfors, a French Open finalist in 1986, received the second wild card and will make up the 12-man field of champions at The Masters Tennis presented by Cunard. The players will compete for a brand new winner-take-all prize of $100,000.
The ever-popular season-ending event has been played in London every year since 1997, but has now been upgraded to The Masters of the Delta Tour of Champions with ten of the players having qualified by their performances at all tournaments on the Road to London. The Masters Tennis presented by Cunard will feature a larger field than ever before (12 players instead of 8), and an extra day of action. Former Wimbledon champions Boris Becker, Pat Cash and Michael Stich will also be part of the field.
As well as preparing for the event at the Albert Hall, McEnroe has also been keeping a close eye on Tim Henman’s progress as he qualified for the regular ATP circuit’s season-ending event in Houston. The Britain will take on the best current players in the game at the event next week, and McEnroe believes Henman has a chance to win. “If you can win that event it’s a great way to go out,” said McEnroe. “Henman beat a lot of good players last year in Paris so there’s no reason why he can’t do it in Houston, but he hasn’t been doing too well since the US Open.” The American also likes the chances of Russia’s Marat Safin, who recently won back-to-back events in Madrid and Paris to end the year strongly. “It’s too bad that he didn’t do better at the US Open and Wimbledon but it’s good to see him winning again,” said McEnore. “I think he can win it.”
As well as the competitive action at the Royal Albert Hall, a world-class field of players will feature in doubles entertainment. In previous years, Ilie Nastase, Peter Fleming and John Lloyd have all taken part. The opening evening session of the event on the 30th November will also see a re-match between Henman and Goran Ivanisevic to aid the charity Kids at Heart. Henman and Ivanisevic have not played each other since their memorable Wimbledon semifinal three years ago.
Full list of singles players for The Masters Tennis presented by Cunard
1. Jim Courier Qualified
2. Thomas Muster Qualified
3. Sergi Bruguera Qualified
4. Richard Krajicek
5. Mats Wilander Qualified
6. Boris Becker Qualified
7. Guy Forget Qualified
8. Michael Stich Qualified
9. Pat Cash
10. Emilio Sanchez
11. John McEnroe
12. Mikael Pernfors