McEnroe "Would Have Been More Boring" During Hawkeye Era

McEnroe "Would Have Been More Boring" During Hawkeye Era

by Alex Waite

John McEnroe has questioned tennis' need for physical umpires and also said he would have been less entertaining if Hawkeye was invented during his era.

McEnroe won seven Grand Slams and enjoyed a dominant spell in men's tennis between 1979 and 1984 when he won all of his major titles. But, his success was not without controversy. The American was infamous for challenging umpire calls, leading to his most famous, "you cannot be serious" incident at Wimbledon in 1981.

However, the invention of Hawkeye in the modern game has lessened the need for human umpires to make line calls. When reflecting on the topic in a Radio Times interview, McEnroe challenged the role of umpires and believes he would have won more titles with Hawkeye on his side.

“I think that tennis is one of the few sports where you don’t need umpires or linesmen. If you have this equipment, and it’s accurate, isn’t it nice to know that the correct call’s being made? Had I had it from the very beginning, I would have been more boring, but I would have won more.”

McEnroe said to the Radio Times

Undoubtedly, some umpire decisions riled up McEnroe and led to some of tennis' most iconic battles. Several times, McEnroe's temper was contrasted with his contemporary rival Bjorn Borg and the duo's regular clashes were dubbed as Fire vs Ice in the media.

However, McEnroe also admitted that he wanted to take more from watching Borg's game in training. But the American couldn't compose himself in the same way when competitive matches came around.

"I actually decided, after watching him and playing him a bit, ‘OK, you have to practise and behave the way Bjorn does. This was practice. At matches, that would go out the door in ten minutes.”


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