Bad Boy of Tennis vs. Bad Boy of Curling
Like everyone else, I’ve been obsessively watching the Winter Olympics, and fixated on the curling competition. So, when an announcer stated that a competitor from Canada, John Morris, used to be referred to as the ‘Bad Boy of Curling’ I immediately started googling him on the internet to find out more about him. Specifically, I was looking for more detail around his bad boy behavior. All I could find was an article talking about his partying and broom breaking during competition. I looked for evidence of broom breaking on YouTube and found nothing. This leads me to believe that John Morris has nothing on our favorite “Bad Boy of Tennis,” Mr. John McEnroe. I could be wrong, and if someone can provide me with some links I stand corrected.
My criteria for crowning Johnny Mac as the all-time “Bad Boy of Tennis” is as follows: Partying off the court. Routinely berating, insulting and screaming at linespeople, chair referees and fans. Defaulted from a Grand Slam for multiple code violations
In his memoir, You Cannot Be Serious, he describes how hard he’d party during the late seventies and early eighties with fellow tennis stars Vitas Gerulaitis and Bjorn Borg. They would hit the clubs during tournaments, dance all night, party with rock stars, actors and other Hollywood types. I have a hard time believing the ‘Bad Boy of Curling’ has come close to this kind of partying.
In terms of outbursts, many remember him for his outburst at the 1981 Wimbledon Championships for a missed line call. “You cannot be serious!” he shouts. Coincidentally, his memoir is titled as such. “You guys are the pits of the world!” he continues as he berates the officiating. However, as shocking as this outburst may have seemed to the tennis world back in 1981, Johnny Mac was just getting warmed up.
One of his best performances came during a change over at the Stockholm Open in 1984. Here’s the full the full clip. He screams at the umpire to “ANSWER MY QUESTION!” He then loses the game, proceeds to go to his chair play some tennis with his orange juice, water, and whatever else was on the side table. Meanwhile, the umpire proceeds to give him another violation which costs him another game. Shockingly, they proceed to let him finish the match.
His ‘Last Waltz’ of bad behavior came during the 1990 Australian Open. McEnroe was playing Mikael Pernfors in the fourth round. He was seeded fourth, having finished 1989 as the fourth-ranked player in the world. He was playing well around that time. It was a hot and frustrating day for McEnroe, and he was leading two sets to one. However, he was down a break in the fourth and getting frustrated with the officiating and his game.
McEnroe decided to do what he does in such situations and took it out on the officiating. Unfortunately for him, the code violation rules had recently changed, and instead of four warnings before a default, it was now three. McEnroe received two violations for racket abuse and verbal abuse and then decided to curse at the umpire for good measure. Unfortunately for him, that meant a third violation and a disqualification.
And for all the wonderful behavior I have outlined above, I consider Johnny Mac the ultimate Bad Boy of Tennis! In the next couple of blogs I will be discussing Johnny Mac’s heirs to be. Stay tuned!