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December 10, 1992

John McEnroe


THE MODERATOR: This press conference will be limited to tennis questions only. The tournament has assured Mr. McEnroe any personal questions asked, he may terminate the conference immediately. Thank you.

Q. What were your immediate thoughts after the match, John?

JOHN McENROE: I don't know. I don't have any. To be honest, I mean, it just ended five minutes ago.

Q. John, you have the feeling that at 3-All second set, the ace, that was a crucial moment because the ball was wide?

JOHN McENROE: Yeah, I think it was. I mean, I think Love-30, he hit two doublefaults and then it was that call and instead of being a second serve, it is all of a sudden 15-30. Then it is unreturnable. Then another ace. It only takes a little thing like that. All of a sudden, I mean, if I had won that game, all I had to do was hold serve twice. That is totally different than being down 4-3. So that was a big point.

Q. How difficult is that serve, John?

JOHN McENROE: I mean, he probably hits second serve as hard as 50% of the people hit the first serve. Then if you add on to that that we were playing on a fast court, it makes every point so crucial like a Love-30 point or any opportunity, I mean, look, even the first set, the break that I had, I mean, he hit a serve, he aced me on that serve they had called a let that I didn't hear. Then he aced me. They called a foot fault. So he basically aced me twice before the second serve, and then I hit a good return winner, so it is really I have a couple of chances the whole match. So I mean, it is very, very difficult to get into any rhythm at all against him on his serve.

Q. Is that it? Is that the summation for you?

JOHN McENROE: I basically feel the same way that I said all along, and it is going to take a step back now. I am not going to announce my retirement. I feel like that that is it but I can't say for 100% what is going to happen. I feel like it is better to leave my options open. If by some chance, I had decided to do something, and take a step back now and sort of reevaluate, and then go from there. I mean, I will continue to try to keep in shape, so I would like to do that anyway, regardless of whether I am playing tennis. I don't feel any differently than I felt throughout most of this year, but just have to wait and see. I don't suspect so. I mean, I suspect, yes.

Q. Say about the crowd here in Munich, did you think they were supportive the way they did? Did you think the crowd would support you the way they did?

JOHN McENROE: Which way did they support me? I mean, to me, when I saw it, they supported Goran the same way they supported me. I don't think it was anything where they were supporting me more than him.

Q. We didn't get a chance to talk to you in Fort Worth. Can you talk about what that meant to you, winning the Davis Cup?

JOHN McENROE: Well, I think it was the greatest Davis Cup experience that I have ever been a part of, just being able to play with the group of guys that I was with, and a lot of what Davis Cup is about is your team and being able to play as a team. And I think, for me, it was the most, the best group that I was ever with. I mean, before it was exciting, my first two years, I just was coming on the team and I was able to play and lose ten games my first Davis Cup in '78 in the finals. That was exciting. It was almost semi-expected. It was such a mismatch, you know, the players I was playing that I expected to beat them badly. I didn't expect maybe to beat them quite as badly but I expected to beat them both easily and I did. The second year it was fun playing Vitas. And then there was basically that period where it was me needing basically it seemed like three wins and that was like became more and more difficult as time went on. I had the difficulties in '84 playing with Jimmy and Jimmy didn't want to talk to me, and we weren't getting along as a team at that time, and so that made it difficult and then there was-- all throughout the years, there was this, I mean, back in '85, I had to sign a piece of paper. Then in '86, the President wouldn't let me play, and just it was a comedy of errors, we just, through decisions of politics, we probably lost three Davis Cups more than we would have won-- probably 3 more of them. But to have ten years for me, personally, from winning the last time I had won was in '82, I wasn't chosen to play in '90 or '91, they made a decision to play on clay in '91 instead of going with Pete and I on hardcourt. In '91 I wasn't picked to play and when I made it clear I thought that I was going to be the difference between winning and losing. You add all those things together, it is very nice to finally -- I made a decision when I played in Spain that I felt like even push aside the politics because you realize that you are coming up to your last chances; the fact that I was able to have another chance is very satisfying, with the group of guys that I was with, was really tremendous. Also the crowd was unbelievable in the Davis Cup. Both -- I mean, I thought that Swiss crowd was really into like their team and our crowd was probably the best crowd I have ever been a part of. And the intensity that was -- the energy that was the day we played doubles was unbelievable how much energy there was in the air. It was just -- we would have to take deep breaths and slow ourselves down. There was so much energy in the beginning that I think that that is really, as I sort of told Tom, it was really what Davis Cup is all about. I think Hlasek who was complaining about we were rooting against them and stuff just missed the boat completely as far as what Davis Cup is about. Everyone has their own way of handling pressure. I know it was a big moment for Jakob but I want to assure everyone that question, it has nothing to do with any lack of respect that we had for the Swiss players. It was simply the emotions of the Davis Cup and getting into it. People would start asking, I think a couple of the players like Andre, you know, were you rooting against Rosset? Of course, we were rooting against Rosset. I mean, we were rooting against Rosset. We wanted Courier to win. But I think they took it a little bit out of -- as I tried to tell Jakob early on in the match, simply this is what Davis Cup is, this is what it is all about. This is fun. This is the moment that you remember. So just to straighten any misconceptions that anybody might have on what we were trying to do, we were trying to win the Davis Cup and we were excited.

Q. John, yesterday, Andre said that he thought that when he describes the people who wear coats and ties who stand between you and your ambitions to be the Davis Cup captain--

JOHN McENROE: I didn't hear the beginning.

Q. Andre said, yesterday, that he thought that the people as he called--

JOHN McENROE: The coats and ties.

Q. Who wear coats and ties would stand between you and your ambitions; he didn't see you getting your job because of that.

JOHN McENROE: I think, first, I want to make one thing clear as far as those specific players. I don't feel that they should make -- it should be clear to everyone here that their decision whether they should be playing in the future should not be based on whether I am captain next year, for example. I don't think it's in any one's best interest to make a statement like that. I think that they are perfectly free to obviously make their own decision but I just want to make clear that I don't feel that they should all say put someone's back against the wall and say we are not playing if John isn't captain, then we are not playing and I think I want to make that clear that that hasn't been done. That hasn't been said. As far as these people that he mentioned, those are the people that make the decision. So these are the same people that made the decision not to pick me to play the Olympics, and they are the people that make the decision -- the President of the USTA, and I suppose that maybe the chairman of the Davis Cup committee, I am not exactly sure who makes the decision, but these people make the decisions. So if they are -- they feel like they should give Tom another chance as I said earlier, if Tom feels -- I mean it is pretty -- most people and I don't disagree with it, do not change the winning formula. Having won the Davis Cup, I don't know if it is necessarily in anyone's best interest to make a change at this time. I know that Stan Smith is very interested and is the other possibility as far as being the captain and whatever decision is made is made. I feel like I could do a good job as Davis Cup captain. I feel like it would be something that I would want to do certainly on equal terms; not on their terms. It would be like as much on my terms as their terms. And if it is not meant to be next year, it won't happen. I mean, that is the way it is. I mean, -- I will be -- I will get by. I mean, there is plenty of other things that are out there, and so -- I feel the decision should be made. I think that the decision should be made in the next few days. As far as I am concerned, the decision should have already been made, and it should out of respect for the people involved, I think the decision should be made. That is all I should say about it so everyone knows where they stand.

Q. John, yesterday, Andre said that he would like to have you as a personal advisor. And also--

JOHN McENROE: I already am a personal advisor. That is what friends are for.

Q. Do you see any contradiction between being possible captain of the Davis Cup team and being a special friend or, I don't say coach, but advisor of Andre Agassi?

JOHN McENROE: Well, first of all,, I would cross that bridge when and if I came to it. But secondly, I would do the same for I mean Pete and Jim. I try to help out at the Davis Cup, and I mean, they have their own setups. That is fine. I think Andre and I would-- it would be good for us to maybe work a little bit together. That nothing has been decided, but we are going to have time over the holidays and maybe hopefully get together and just see what that means, who the hell knows what it means, anyway. Neither of us do, so we will just have to wait and see. First decision is finding out about-- there is not a lot of things to see what happens, and then we will take it from there. But it is wide open. I don't see any problem if by some chance that happened, no. I don't see that as a problem.

Q. John, as the year wound down, did you find yourself either getting emotional or experiencing any inner conflicts about the decision and any announcement to probably make this your last full-time effort?

JOHN McENROE: That is a tough question to answer, because I mean sort of became pretty apparent to me, I mean, obviously the conditions were different than say indoors for example, but at the Open, I had my chances. I had lost to Ferreira in Australia. I had Andre play on grass at the semis in Wimbledon. I was playing Jim 16 in the Open. For whatever reason, he played two good matches, the whole week, me and Andre, the only two matches he played well. He hasn't really played well in the last -- as well as he has been playing the first part of the year and I just felt like I actually felt more and more comfortable with my decision, but at the same time, it is a very difficult decision. I mean, there is no question about it. When you have been doing something for 25 years, to suddenly decide that you are not going to do it anymore. Admittedly, I am not as highly ranked as I was. I think part of that reason is because of the fact the way the system is set up. I think I would have been higher ranked had the system been more fair to veteran playing, for example, guys that can't -- that don't want or can't go around week after week playing tournaments. So I paid the price for that but, yet, I still feel I am certainly not the level I was but I still consider myself a top player capable of -- I proved what I wanted this year, that I was capable of beating the top players at a given day. I also felt that I didn't do it consistently, and so because of that, I feel comfortable with the decision, but at the same time, as I said, it is a very difficult one to make, and that is why I am not officially announcing my retirement right now, because I don't think it is in my best interest if for some -- I don't personally think you will see me playing tournaments; I think you will see me playing some exhibitions here and there, hopefully against the best guys because that would be a lot more interesting. I will be around and I am not going to fall off the face of the earth but at the same time, I don't at this time, see myself playing. I don't see really where it can go from here in a certain way, so it is best to go on sort of, in my way, feeling that my head is fine in the sense that I felt like I played -- I felt like I was playing well throughout most of the year. It is my tennis, I felt like I was playing well. It was either mentally sometimes, or physically, that it would -- would be the difference as to why I wasn't winning the big ones. For some reason, it was you know, for whatever reason Andre played great in the semis at Wimbledon, but I just didn't feel my body was reacting the way it had, you know, up to that point. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was just the accumlulation of matches. And I just didn't feel I had the bounce, for whatever reason. That is a combination of mental and physical where you are not (A) able to push yourself to that other level. Because of that, it is best for me to go out, where I still feel like I am playing really well, and I had a lot of good wins but at the same time, I didn't win the big things. You got -- it just got to be too long where I hadn't won the big one. I couldn't convince myself that it was going to actually happen anymore.

End of FastScripts....

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