Notes: McEnroe's Comments Cause Stir


102897034JG131_Agassi_v_McEBATTLE OF THE SEXES II: John McEnroe ruffled some feathers when he implied that women shouldn”t play the same schedule as the men.  “I think that it”s asking too much of the women.  They shouldn”t be playing as many events as the men,” said McEnroe, pointing to injuries.  “The women have it better in tennis than in any other sport, thanks to Billie Jean King. But you shouldn”t push them to play more than they”re capable of.”  Fellow broadcaster and longtime friend Mary Carillo was one of those who disagreed: “Monica Seles was as mentally tough as anyone I”ve ever seen — man or woman.  Steffi Graf. Chrissie and Martina.  They stayed so fit mentally and physically for so long because they wanted it for so long. To say we”re asking too much of women, I don”t see it…I hate the idea that we have to judge women on a curve and say, “It”s too much for them.” I”ve seen too many great women champions for too long.” WTA Tour chief seemed to concur, telling the L.A. Times, “John is more than entitled to his opinion, and he is a well-respected leader in our sport, but I hope when someone makes comments he”s also looking at the data. Venus is 30 and she is very careful with her body because she wants to continue to play.” King called McEnroe”s comments “rubbish,” adding, “I would just tell him he doesn”t have his facts right. The game goes in cycles when it comes to things like injuries.”  Perhaps the most damming comments came from EPSN columnist Johnette Howard.  Of McEnroe”s new tennis academy on Randall”s Island in New York, Howard asked, “Why would anyone send their daughter to McEnroe after reading what he really thinks she might not be able to do just because she”s a girl?”

WHO NOSE?: Speculation that Serena Williams had a nose job hit the web after the injured No. 1 turned up at a Hamptons magazine party in New York.  The Daily Mail was among those who asserted that Serena might have undergone the knife, but also left her an out.  “Lots of celebrities use make-up contouring techniques to add the illusion of more defined facial features, so this may have been the case. If so, she may want to share them, as she certainly looked amazing.”

AVATAR MEETS ASHE: The U.S. Open is broadcasting matches in 3D.

DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL”S BEST FRIEND: Defending USO champ Kim Clijsters threw out the first pitch before the Aug. 27 Mets-Astros game.


In a joint interview in Parade magazine, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova revisited one of the most celebrated rivalries in sport.  A few gems from Evert:


“I think people forget that we were left alone in the locker room every Sunday after we played final matches, and one of us would be crying and the other would be comforting-nobody saw that.”


“He was so cute. He woke up and said, “I can”t believe I slept with Chris Evert in Martina Navratilova”s bedroom!” Martina was responsible for me meeting him, and he and I had a great 20 years, so I feel like I”m not a total failure in life.”


“You have the highs and the lows, but life is really in between.”


“I”m not getting within 20 feet of a married man ever again — not even talking to one.”

SAY IT ISN”T SO: Nicolas Mahut, who inspired so many in his 11-hour match with John Isner at Wimbledon, lost in U.S. Open qualifying…Dinara Safina, who came into last year”s Open ranked No. 1, is now No. 59.

CRIME PAYS: A frustrated Goran Ivanisevic was struggling big time in the final of a senior tournament in Belgium, so he broke his racket and then stole one of his opponent Pat Cash“s famous checkerboard headbands and promptly orchestrated a 3-6, 6-3, 10-4 comeback. The Croat said, “As soon as I put on Cashy”s headband, I started playing good.  It really worked. I think he needs to give me a few more of those.”…I played so badly in the first set I should have broken all my rackets.” Legend recalls, that in a tournament in Brighton, England in 2000, Goran did exactly that and was then forced to retire due to “insufficient equipment.”

SERGIY “AK-47” STAKHOVSKY: One of the most intriguing tidbits about New Haven titlist Sergiy Stakhovsky is his list of five people, dead or alive, he would invite to a party. The eclectic group includes Tom Hanks, Bono, Boris Yeltsin, Princess Di and Mikhail Kalashnikov, a Russian small arms developer credited with designing the AK-47.  Asked about the bizarre inclusion of a Russian arms dealer, he said, “If you take his life, in any other single country he would more or less be a billionaire or whatever, one of the biggest men in the world. Unfortunately, he was living in Russia and doing the job he was supposed to do, basically on a online casino government salary, which is not huge…I know, okay, he did more damage to the world than he maybe did good. But at some point he did save the country I was born in. I feel I have to be thankful to him.”

COULD HAVE FOOLED US: Year after year, Americans either pass or struggle mightily at Roland Garros, but Pat McEnroe noted that three of the Fab Four won the French Open (Agassi, Courier and Chang) and that some of Sam Querrey”s best results have come on clay.  John McEnroe asserted, “This idea that we can”t play on clay is a bunch of baloney.”

STATING THE OBVIOUS: Patrick McEnroe said, “Donald Young is still young.”

CUROUS QUESTIONS: “Is there a point at which a serve is so singularly unreturnable that it makes for bad tennis?” — Liz Clarke, Washington Post…”When you look back a year later on Serena”s infamous tantrum, do you think it was much ado about nothing? Do you think it was a real installation of misbehavior?  Or do you think it just taught linespeople not to call foot faults at critical moments?” — Filip Bondy, Daily News.

AND NOW DIRECTLY FROM OUR “TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE” DEPT.: Of Serena foot fault meltdown of “09, John McEnroe said, “It was an aberration for Serena.  I”ve never seen her lose it like that.  There”s no doubt that she lost it far worse than I”ve ever seen her, I dare to say even worse than I”ve ever lost it.  I had to think back in the memory banks and I think she could have even topped me there.  It was an aberration.  Generally, she”s a critically important part of our sport, and for the most part I think she”s taken a lot of abuse in a lot of different situations and handled it a lot better than most players would have.”

“MCENROE WINS THE BREAKER!  MCENROE WINS THE BREAKER!”: The passing of Bobby Thomson, whose shot heard “round the world is generally regarded as the greatest moment in baseball history, reminds us that there is no great walk off in tennis.  John McEnroe said the only moment in his career that he could compare it to was the fourth-set 18-16 tiebreaker against Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon in “80.

CANINE COACHING?: Of coaches, Patrick McEnroe said, “I think they”re overrated.  These guys don”t need a coach.  Look at them — Federer could play with a dog telling him what to do and he could still win a couple of majors.”






17: Age of Portuguese qualifier and super-shrieker Michelle Larcher De Brito —the youngest player in the USO main draw.


“Now that Henin is out for the year, is her return going to be strictly anecdotal?” —Mary Carillo

“I”m not convinced that a country or system can produce a champion.  But I am convinced that, with a better system and a better program, you can produce better players.” — Patrick McEnroe