On Being John McEnroe, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


The greatest sports stars characterise their times.

They also help to tell us who we are. John McEnroe, at his best and worst, told us the story of the eighties.

His improvised quest for tennis perfection, and his inability to find a way to grow up, dramatised the volatile self-absorption of a generation.

His matches were open therapy sessions, and they allowed us all to be armchair shrinks.

Tim Adams sets out to explore what it might have meant to be John McEnroe during those times, and in his subsequent lives, and to define exactly what it is we want from our sporting heroes: how we require them to play out our own dramas; how the best of them provide an intensity by which we can measure our own lives.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: sport
  • ISBN: 9780224069625

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Short light-hearted book on the impact John McEnroe had on the tennis establishment of the late 70s/early 80s and the interaction between his career and his psyche. I always had a sneaking liking for him at the time of his greatness as opposed to my parents' shock at his antics and think he is a great commentator now (he has added so much to the Wimbledon experience this year as every year), though some of his on court antics were genuinely outrageous. 4/5