REBEL WITH A CAUSE
Tennis's ageless bad boy is still shaking things up on the court, this time on the PowerShares Series circuit, which eliminates linespeople and lets players make the calls.
DAN PATRICK: What kind of awards do you have displayed in your house?
JOHN MCENROE: I have [one of my eight] Wimbledon trophies [there]. At one time I had a lot of seniors trophies, but I realized those were kind of boring. Deep down I appreciate a good piece of art more than I would a trophy.
DP: What kind of art do you invest in?
JM: I'm a little bit more risky. [I like] more contemporary living artists. I'm a bit all over the place. Whatever I'm feeling at the moment. To me, an artist is a lot like a tennis player. You're on your own, out there by yourself. You feel naked and exposed. You go to an opening, and people can ridicule it and say it's the worst thing they ever saw. In tennis, you could be in front of 20,000 people and lay an egg. It's brought me a lot of pleasure. I've been collecting since my buddy Vitas Gerulaitis took me around when I was 20. Started bringing me to places in SoHo [New York City], and places like CBGB and also art galleries.
DP: Did you ever see the Ramones and any of the classic punk acts at CBGB?
JM: Unfortunately I was a little bit young for that. I was 18 in 1977, and [punk music] was already happening. The earliest look I got at a punk band was in '79, the Clash in London.
DP: Did you see the Clash while you were at Wimbledon?
JM: Yup. That was inspiring. At the time, I was being called the punk of tennis. [People were] comparing me to some of those types of bands, which I found rather humorous.
DP: What did you have in common with those bands at the time?
JM: We were rallying against authority. Having grown up in New York City, I certainly clashed [with the tennis establishment]. It was like oil and water. I think at the same time they've learned some of what I was about was good also. What I was pushing for and trying to bring to the table is what the sport still needs. We still should be looked at the way other sports are, not some elitist sport that the 1% plays.
DP: Better chance for the Knicks to win a championship or an American male to win a Grand Slam title?
JM: What's the time frame?
DP: I'll give you five years.
JM: We have a better chance of an American male winning a U.S. Open or Wimbledon title.
DP: You're competing in the PowerShares Series with players making their own calls. Would you have been in favor of replay early in your career?
JM: Absolutely. I would have just found someone else to yell at.
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