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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: John McEnroe Would Like to See More Trash Talking in Tennis

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-How are you?

-I am exhilarated to be here

-I thank you very much.

-Right. Exhausted little bit from the last couple weeks

But it ended with a blast.

I mean, it was amazing match in the final.

And Serena got to the final.

So that was good. -It was a great U.S. Open.

It's obviously very exciting to have tennis in New York City.

You mentioned both exhilaratio and exhaustion.

And I feel like that must been what it felt like

on Sunday night with a five-hour men's final

You were in the booth with your brother, Patrick

-Yes. -Do you ever --

Did you feel an exhaustion sitting in on yourself,

or did you feel the excitement of the match?

-I have --

If you get exhausted watchin two guys battle like that,

there's something wrong with you.

You're a little sick in the head.

-Yeah. -And for us, you know, the men

to go at it like that, I mean, I've played matches --

a couple matches longer than that, so I get it,

and I respect it.

So I was having a great time

We know there's a tie breaker in the fifth set.

So it could only go another 20, 30 minutes.

What's another half-hour? So it was -- It ended great.

-And what -- Do you feel lik the energy in New York Cit

for a match like that is different than any other place

where you have a major final like this?

-Without question.

Did anyone see the final?

[ Cheers and applause ]

I was lucky enough to be par of five U.S. Open finals.

And that may have been one o the loudest, if not the loudest,

when this, you know, Medvedev, this Russian guy,

came back and took it to a fifth set.

So it inspires the players obviously.

It's absolutely incredible

We need a shot in the arm for our sport.

We -- The women are doing well

[ Light applause ] But, you know, the men, the --

Thank you. -[ Laughs ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

I do have four daughters and two boys.

So I -- You know, how much it means

now that the playing field is more level in women's gam

in our sport than any other sport.

You know, you talked about - I've heard that soccer joke.

-Yeah. -That was just --

the previous -- -Yeah, yeah.

-Basketball. There's no football.

You know, they're getting paid 1/20th, 1/50th what the men do

In tennis, exactly the same. Equal prize money.

[ Cheers and applause ] -What -- if you were --

Very -- Absolutely true.

And it's exactly as exciting going into the finals.

And there were two great stories this year.

You mention the men need a shot in the arm.

What do you think it is

that's lacking right now for the men's game?

-Well, I think that our best athletes have a tendency

to play American football and basketball, obviously.

So we have -- we need to do a better job

giving more kids the opportunity to play.

It's too expensive.

You know, I have a tennis academy at Randall's Island.

I try to raise money with the charity.

Get as many kids as possible

It's got to be a cool factor, too.

I think we had that a bit in the '70s and '80s

when I was playing, not just because I was playing

-Yeah, well, but let's be honest, yeah.

[ Laughter ]

Well, one thing we were talking about earlier today,

knowing you were coming on the show, you know,

I feel like the prime of a tennis player in the '70s

was a lot shorter than it is now.

You know, it just seems like

the way health and fitness has changed,

the way even the equipment has changed.

For a shorter period of time

that guys in the '70s were playing,

you had such a huge impact on the game.

And I do feel like there was a huge cool factor

to what you were all doing -I think we were the doing -

the problem we were doing --

we were performance detracting drugs.

-Yeah, yeah, performance -

Yeah, nothing you were doing made you better at tennis.

-We tried to burn a candle at both ends.

And, you know, it works for a while.

But it catches up to you a little sooner.

These guys are incredible. They got great teams.

People understand how to recover quicker, et cetera.

But that was a great time in tennis.

There was a lot of personality

You need that in a one-on-one sport.

That's why people gravitat toward this Medvedev guy.

-Yeah. -He embraced being the bad guy

which is something that I sort of wish

Djokovic would do a little bit more of,

play the villain. We need a villain.

I know nothing about being a villain.

-Yeah. [ Laughter ]

But, you know, he --

and people, the fans got behind him at the end.

-You -- Of course you were - You were literally --

the fact that you were known for a little bit of bad behavior

Was it ever --

[ Laughter ] -Just a little bit.

-Was it genuinely that you wer

losing a temper you couldn't control?

Or was there some gamesmanship to it?

Was it a strategy to get in the head of your opponent

by losing your temper with, say, the judge?

-Well, if all it takes to ge in the head of an opponent

is you getting -- telling a judge that he sucks, okay.


-What are the odds of the umpire giving me the next call?

I mean, if you tell this guy he's a bum, you know,

the next -- he's going to go "I'll show that McEnroe."

So, to me, that was sour grape if that's all it took.

-Right, right. -With all that goes on --

like, say in a football game on Sunday, you think

they're saying, "Hello. How are you?" on the field

Or basketball? There's a lot of trash-talking

We used to do more of that

I'd like to see a little bit more in the tennis.

[ Laughter ]

-So there was genuine trash talk.

Of course, one of your rivals -- Bjorn Borg, there you are there.

And he is genuinely a dear friend of yours now, yes?

-I love him. Hopefully, he loves me.

He's probably -- He's probably the only guy

that I didn't have problems with on the court.

-Oh, so you never had an issue with him?

-We never had a problem.

He took me, you know, under his wing, in a way.

And I got respect because of that.

'Cause he was already, like, a god.

You know, he was like Federe at the time.

You know, everyone loved him

And he was this great-looking guy.

Dressed right. The girls loved him.

So I was like, "I want to be like him."

-And he was the only guy who was nice to you.

Do you feel like that means he was a good judge of characte

or just a bad judge?

Was it a blind spot

that he was like, "I like this McEnroe kid"?

-What do you think?

[ Laughter ]

-So, the first time you go to Wimbledon, is it -

Are you 17 years old? Are you --

-I was 18 the first time I went. -18 years old.

-And you talked about how guys have great teams now.

And there's -- You know, nutrition has, obviously,

advanced so much. But what was it like --

The tour did not take care of you in the same way the

as it does now. -No.

-You know, it was an incredibl time in England in the '70s.

You know, punk was breaking out.

People were getting on me.

You know, it was like oil and water.

Me, a New York kid.

I mean, you're screaming and yelling all the time.

People are, you know -- They give you their opinion, right?

Over there, they're much more reserved

They're very proper. I was like,

"What's wrong with these people?"

-[ Laughs ] Yeah.

-"You know, they're so well behaved here."

And so, you know, we clashed right away.

But I got a lot of support I got to say, like,

if you walked down the equivalent of,

well, I don't know what street you can -- Kings Road in London.

It would be Lexington. I don't know.

-Yeah. -And they got a lot of support

There was, like, some freaky people around.

But they were supportive.

The establishment and the papers,

which were owned by Rupert Murdoch --

You may know him -- -Yeah.

-They were giving me a very hard time.

And there's a lot more newspapers in London

than there are here.

There was 15 local papers.

So that makes it where they looking to get you.

-Did you -- Were you somebody that --

You know, you're 18 years old. And you were supposed to -

Your first run to, I think

the semifinals? -Semifinals.

-So that was kind of unexpected, right?

You were actually supposed to be there to play in the juniors

You end going on a sort of unexpected run.

Were you somebody then who would read the paper?

I mean, you're in London having this incredible run

You're 18 years old. -Initially, I read it.

I thought it was the funniest thing ever.

I thought, "These people don't get it

What's their problem? I'm the one out there.

You know, how -- Why are the reacting this way?"

But when I came home, and everyone was like,

"Hey, you the brat that -- you know, jerk that" --

and I'm like, "What do you mean? I'm the same person."

So it just -- you know,

actually, that completely changed my life,

you know, that first trip to Europe and then in London

And it just got -- It went o from there for about five year

till I finally won the event

-Yeah. So that's '81 you went --

-I said, "I'm never coming bac to this Goddamn place again.

"These people are so full of it."

[ Laughter ] -Is this Wimbledon?

Is this winning at Wimbledon -That's my first Wimbledon

-There you go. -Yeah. Yay!

-Yeah, there you go.

[ Cheers and applause ]

-It was a long time ago. -It was a long time ago.

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