Thursday April 2nd, 2009

Tennis will make a cameo during the Final Four basketball games this weekend when John McEnroe stars in a public-education campaign called the "50 Over 50 Prostate Health Challenge." Outspoken as ever, McEnroe chatted with I think there was a typo in the promotional material. It said you were 50 years old.

McEnroe: I turned the big five-oh last month and a bell rang. Fifty percent of guys over 50 suffer from an enlarged prostate and I was aware of what it could lead to: My father had prostate cancer a few years back. So I felt like it was a great fit for me and I could do something meaningful. The good part is that what I'm basically doing is encouraging people to be active, maintain a regular workout and go to a doctor and get checked out. This is a marketing shift, so serious. You're moving to a new demographic.

McEnroe: I'm big with guys over 50 and women over 75. I moved past 25-and-under. You need to start twittering.

McEnroe: Funny you said that. That's what my daughter tells me. No, I've come full circle. As you get older, your perspective changes. Who would have thought I would be doing commentary? Or try to push for a tennis academy? Who would have thought that between me and Ivan Lendl -- and I hear he's trying to get back into shape -- I'd be the fitter guy? Things happen. As of today, what's your take on the Nadal-Federer rivalry?

McEnroe: As of today, I just hope Nadal stays healthy because I think he has a chance of reaching that stratospheric level that I didn't think was even conceivable a year ago, in there with Federer, Sampras and Laver. I think Roger will break the record [for career Grand Slams] but it's not going to be this cakewalk he thought it was going to be. On the other hand, he'll get this sympathy and support from the crowd as they see him struggle a little bit. So it will be interesting. What's the status of your game these days?

McEnroe: Actually pretty good. I beat Jim Courier in the finals of a Seniors event and won a few last year, which was quite remarkable after going a few years without winning any. I'm good for about an hour, hour and a half, before things start going downhill a bit. You made news for non-tennis-related reasons last week. Anything you want to add?

McEnroe: I guess one thing I would say is it makes me sympathetic to other people who were in a situation like [being scammed by] Bernie Madoff. It's difficult when a friend of yours -- Jon, I was a godfather to one of his kids! -- someone you went on vacations with, socialize with, does something like this. Pretty incredible. And it had been going on for a while. You know it's serious when you're called to testify before a grand jury. From an emotional and financial standpoint, it wasn't the best news I could have gotten. On a happier note, the spot will air during the Final Four. Who's your pick?

McEnroe: I'm not familiar enough with the team to make a definite call, but Obama took North Carolina so I'll go with them.

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