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John McEnroe
John McEnroe

Born Feb 16, 1959, Wiesbaden, Germany (of American parents)

Wimbledon titles: 1981, 1983, 1984

Runner up: 1980, 1982

Grand Slam titles: 7

Career Prize money $12,539,622

Never has a more talented and controversial player walked onto the lush lawns of Centre Court than “Supermac”, or “Superbrat” as he was known after some of his many excesses.

Even his arch-nemesis, Wimbledon referee Alan Mills, has pointed out what a tragedy it is that McEnroe will be remembered more for his outbursts than his tennis.

In 1980, he was booed as he walked out for the final against Bjorn Borg after heated exchanges with officials during his semi-final against Jimmy Connors.

The following year he coined his now-famous phrases “You cannot be serious” and “Pits of the World”.

In between, he played some of the greatest tennis ever seen. His swinging, left-handed serve may not have been the hardest hit the game has ever seen, but the opponent was often almost in the seats before he could return it.

His hands were so quick he could not only get to the fiercest of passing shots, he could put them away for a winning drop volley.

His straight sets destruction of Jimmy Connors in the 1984 final had commentators talking of the greatest-ever display of tennis the Centre Court had ever seen.

He never turned down the chance to play for the United States in the Davis Cup and would often wear his nation’s tracksuit at other tournaments, thereby throwing away millions in sponsorship deals.

If McEnroe’s light shined brightly, it also shined briefly. By 1985, even McEnroe could not take it any more and he took a took a nine-month break from the game. He never won a Grand Slam championship again.

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