John Patrick McEnroe, born on Feb. 16, 1959 in Weisbaden, Germany, rose to fame in the 1970s and early 1980s as one of the world’s top tennis players. He learned to play tennis at the Port Washington Tennis Academy in Long Island under the tutelage of Tony Palafox, a former Davis Cup player for Mexico and Harry Hopman, an Australian who was also a former Davis Cup coach.
As an amateur McEnroe reached the semi-finals in his first Wimbledon tournament in 1977 and turned professional by 1978, the same year when he won the Masters tournament.
One of the most notorious tennis rivalries that will be forever remembered by fans is the one that developed between McEnroe and Bjorn Borg during the 1980s. The famous tie breaker match occurred in the July 1980 Wimbledon finals. McEnroe won the fourth set after 22 minutes and 34 points, but the title eventually went to Borg, making it the Swede’s fifth consecutive Wimbledon win. McEnroe successfully defended his US Open title against Borg at Flushing Meadow, and from then on set his sights on winning the prestigious Wimbledon cup.
After winning the 1981 Wimbledon title as well as the 1981 US Open, he gained the title as the world’s number one player for 1981. He also won at Wimbledon in 1983-1984, which gained him the number one ranking two more times. During this period he also formed one half of the top-ranked doubles team in the world, with Peter Fleming as his partner.
His career started to go down in 1985, attributed largely to his lack of devotion to training and his notorious temper tantrums. By this time he was holding seven Grand slam singles titles and seven in doubles. In 1986, he married actress Tatum O’Neil, his girlfriend of two years. The two decided to have a divorce six years later.
McEnroe started his broadcasting career in 1995, as a commentator and analyst for NBC and CBS during the major tennis tournaments. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in July of 1999. He continues to be active in philanthropy and owns an art gallery in Manhattan.