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September 1, 1992

John McEnroe


Q. John, almost everybody that has come in here, the last two days, talked about how difficult it is to play the first round, especially people who played at night. How was it for you tonight?

JOHN McENROE: Well, it had the potential to be difficult because I expected to be on about an hour before. I was unprepared and sort of waiting. That is tennis anyway. You never know when you are going to get on. I felt, all things considered, that I got off to a good start, broke him the first game, and then I broke him, I believe, in the first game of each set. That just set this tone, that I was on top, and doing my thing, and so I was pretty lucky, all things considered. I mean, the first round is always-- it is always the build-up to get into a tournament, you are really excited about playing. Sometimes you start off well and there are other times when you get real tight. The more the people have at stake, the more you will probably see them be a bit tentative. I felt pretty tense coming into the tournament because it is really the last time that it is going to mean a whole lot to me where I have been playing full-time in the professionals, going at it the whole year. I mean, if I have played again, it would be sort of simply be the fact that it would-- that is, and Wimbledon is one of the greatest tournaments wanting to play and to be a part of it, but not really have any feeling of a contender. I feel like I am still there and could be a factor of some kind and so, to get by the first round is a relief but at the same time, it doesn't get any easier, I mean let us face it, I was pretty lucky today because my game matched up well against my opponent. He couldn't really do anything to hurt me. You never know. Even the next guy I play is not a really well-known player, but -- not a big serve and just goes for his shots. That could be a dangerous type of guy. That could be dangerous.

Q. Feel sharp?

JOHN McENROE: I felt pretty sharp. I felt like I was playing pretty -- had been playing pretty well, and the reason I was losing wasn't necessarily how I was playing. It was more of a mental thing. Sometimes fatigue, playing a number of matches in a row, and so I had the whole week to try to get ready. I felt a lot of tension leading into it. I felt pretty composed out there. I felt like I was feeling pretty sharp today. Felt like I finally got the right tension. Sometimes all these things take time and you hope that when the first match is started, that you are ready to go. But at the same time, I mean, it is not like you want to peak in the first round, either hopefully you play your best against the absolute best guys. It is a real -- it is like a chess game in a sense; sometimes you see, sometimes, like a guy like I notice with a guy like Becker, for example, he has a tendency to slow starts; if he can get by; all of a sudden he gets tougher and tougher. That holds true with some players. I try to be ready all the time. Any given day you could lose in any round. It is a tough one to know. I mean, I can't plan on like peaking in a second week, say, because I could be out in the first week. I got to try to be ready from the first day, I hope that it happens. Hope that it works out that way. That is why luck is involved in winning these tournaments.

Q. John, what did you do while you were waiting for that first match to end?

JOHN McENROE: I was watching the Mets game.

Q. Did you prepare for this tournament the way you were hoping to?

JOHN McENROE: I was pretty tense like coming into it because it is let us face it, I mean, I am not going to be playing many tournaments next year, and so, it got a little more significance only because it would be nice enough to go out on a positive note. At least competing hard, there was pressure, but I did have a week to get ready for it. I made a point not to play the week before, so that I knew that I was playing the U.S. Open and not get like in a tournament, say, the week before and possibly even do fairly well; then all of a should have the Open jump at me, so I had to this whole week to get ready.

Q. Do you find it hard to believe that Connors is still in the main draw at 40 years old?

JOHN McENROE: It is and it isn't. I mean, I have been around 15 years, and this is my 16th Open I have seen him in every one, so in a way it is not surprising because I can still see he plays high quality tennis. He is a Kareem Abdul in basketball, 40 years old. He was a major factor. And it is incredible, but at the same time, sometimes it is amazing the fact that he is going to be 40 years old and he has been playing like 20 Opens or even more, and he still is out there, and he is like Kareem, and a guy like Peter Rose, say. I mean, these guys come along once every -- I don't even know, 20, 30 years in their sports. It is very, very unusual for that to happen.

Q. If you could send him a birthday message what would it be?

JOHN McENROE: You got me on that one. I mean, I am sure that there is some help -- some people will be building it up. I guess, it would be happy birthday.

Q. You practiced the last two years with Connors before the U.S. Open?


Q. Yeah, this year, I didn't see you practicing with him.

JOHN McENROE: Well, I have practiced with him. It is not something that we make a point of in order to be good luck. It is just, he was playing a tournament and he got injured, and so he has been going it at his own pace and everyone sort of -- it just seems like it didn't -- it wasn't like there was any reason why we didn't do it, but there wasn't any reason that we did or didn't. It just didn't happen this time, and we certainly practiced enough times, that at this point, if we get some other practice, -- we both play sort of differently, so it is probably in a way better for us to play some of the other guys who we get a better feel for what is out there. We don't really play like the other players.

Q. Do you see his match with Martina proving anything or people should just enjoy it?

JOHN McENROE: It is total entertainment. I don't know what it proves. I mean, I don't see the point. I mean, it is just both of them making a lot of money. I don't think there is any doubt about that. But if people want to watch it and if they are entertained by it, then -- and they feel like they get their money's worth, that is a different thing, but I mean if Connors wins 2 and 2 or 3 and 3, I do not think -- I do not see any chance that she is going to win, and even if -- even if she did, it would be like he gets one serve and she gets more, like the alleys, I don't understand. I mean, maybe they are obviously trying to make it a little more equal, but, I mean, it is not something that really interests me, personally. I mean, I have got a tough enough time playing. It is not something I have ever thought of on a serious level playing the other women. I mean, I think that they should be respected for what they do, and we should be respected for what we do. I think mixing it -- I don't quite understand that, to be honest. But if, all of a sudden, everyone wants to see it, then all of a sudden, maybe, that is what people -- maybe that -- I mean let us face it, tennis needs a boost. It is sort of -- it is not what I consider to be at the best level, so if it got a little boost of excitement, I don't think that is bad. You are talking about 2 exciting individuals playing, so I don't know.

Q. Any chance you might reconsider and play for a full year next year?

JOHN McENROE: If I win this year, I would definitely play next year, but certainly -- but that is pretty much where I see it. I mean, it is sort of -- I feel pretty clear about it. You never know. I mean, I have seen millions of athletes come back, so I wouldn't be the first or the last if I decided to play a little bit, but I don't -- I don't see it right now. I mean, it has got to require a lot of enjoyment for all of the stuff that you have to go through being away from my family; not ever feeling like you are getting on with another aspect of your life, sort of being this traveling band of tennis players, and so, I don't -- I don't think so. But I mean, I am basically just -- what I have already decided like the first couple of months next year, three months, I am going to sort of sit back and see how I feel about it; sort of make a decision; keep my options open, but not make any commitments. Certainly, early on, certainly the first quarter of the year, then maybe play a couple of exhibitions; see if the juices get flowing; see, hey, I really miss this and want to do it. That is something different. That is not something I can determine right now. Right now I have played quite a bit all year. I have played as much as I have-- this year I have ten more weeks, couple of Davis Cup matches; couple of other tournaments in Europe and even one in Australia and then the Grand Slam Cup I will be in. So, I mean, I am playing a number of weeks even after this. It is going to be a real full year for me. Then I need the time to sort of take a step back.

Q. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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