Who Did it Best?

I started watching tennis on TV decades before I first stepped onto a court, way before I really understood what the sport was about, or how it was meant to be played. I watched for two reasons: John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. More specifically, to see if either one of them would lose their shit during a match.

Who Did it Best?

Arguing with the umpire.

John McEnroe


Jimmy Connors

And while you are figuring out which of those two did it best, here are a couple more for you to consider…



Andy Roddick

Now that I play tennis, and am a grown up, I have to admit I don’t find this type of behavior entertaining or amusing. But please don’t let that small detail stop you from voting…


5 responses

  1. I don’t really watch tennis much anymore, but I’d have to say when I did I liked McEnroe. His tirades were mostly good theater built upon a valid frustration and I think most spectators realized it. What Serena did – on the other hand – is downright nasty and scary.

    • Interesting point about the validity of McEnroe’s tirades. Unfortunately for him, he lost control of himself so often that people who don’t follow the sport, remember him more for being a brat than for being a great tennis player.

      I think out of all of these, Roddick bothers me the most. He comes across (at least in this clip) as being very good (perhaps from years of practice?) at doling out verbal abuse. I don’t like Serena’s outburst–it is scary–yet, there is something about Roddick’s that bothers me more. I am interested in reading what other people think.

  2. I have to with with Johnny McEnroe. He would just absolutely loose his head with every call that he felt went against us. The score, or meaningfulness of the point really didn’t matter. Jimmy Connors was great, but I often felt his tirades were less than spontaneous. He would argue over correct calls just to gain a brief rest or to break his opponents momentum. Both of these guys made tennis fun to watch. Both made the most of their talents, and found ways to beat more gifted rivals. Johnny and Jimmy also had the contrast of Ivan Lendl and Bjorn Borg for cold comparison. Ah, the Golden Age of Tennis.

    • A couple of years ago I watched a biography on Connors on ESPN, that guy had (has?) a win at all costs attitude. A story was told about how Connors, who was in his prime, was practicing with a much younger player (might have been Brad Gilbert, but I am not sure) who started doing really well, was beating Connors (keep in mind this was a practice match). So on the change over Connors gets right in the kid’s face and says something along the lines of, “I am going to f**k you up.” The kid was understandably really shaken and stopping playing well. Connors does not like to lose.

      • From the late 70’s through the early 80’s Jmimy and Johnny were USA tennis and Wimbledon was the proving ground. I hated Bjorn Borg. When Johnny finally beat Borg in 81 it cemented McEnroe as my all time fav. My Hank Aaron of tennis if you will.

        My dad was a huge Connors fan and reveled in Jimmy beating McEnroe the following year.

        I still enjoying watching tennis, at least the majors, but it will never be the same in the men’s game.

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