"They should have defaulted me more... It was their job to show some integrity" - When John McEnroe got honest about his hostile on-court behavior

John McEnroe
John McEnroe was known for his on-court outbursts

John McEnroe once made an honest admission about his hostile on-court behavior. The American felt that officials should have defaulted him more often than they did.

McEnroe was one of the finest players of his generation, without a doubt. However, his anger issues were unparalleled in the sport, leading to frequent fines and suspensions for his volatile behavior towards lines judges, umpires, and opponents.

Nicknamed 'Superbrat,' one of the American's most infamous tantrums, where he coined the phrase "You cannot be serious," occurred during the first round of the 1981 Wimbledon Championships. He later won the tournament, defeating his rival Bjorn Borg in the final and breaking the Swede's streak of five consecutive titles.

However, surprisingly enough, John McEnroe himself thinks that he should have been "defaulted more" than he was, adding that the officials didn't do their jobs properly.

"They should have defaulted me more," the seven-time Grand Slam champion told The New Yorker in 2000. "I’m not going to say I didn’t test these people. It was their job to come through and show some integrity, and they didn’t do it."

John McEnroe once lambasted the officials for not defaulting him on purpose

John McEnroe
John McEnroe

In a conversation with Pete Bodo, as quoted in Bodo's book 'Courts of Babylon' published in 1995, John McEnroe candidly addressed his on-court hostile behavior.

The American criticized the "system," noting that even though he frequently crossed the line, tournament directors wouldn't default him because they relied on him for viewership.

"The system stinks," McEnroe said. "There’ve been matches when my behavior was so outrageous that I should have been defaulted, but I’m such a big drawing card that no tournament director is going to shoot himself in the foot by defaulting me."
"So they came up with this suspension plan that sits you down if you accumulate so many dollars in fines over a given period," he added.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion continued:

"Even then, you don’t get kicked out when you go over the limit but later, and even that can be appealed. The system was there to be manipulated, and a lot of times I played it to the hilt."
"A part of me was always aware of how far I could go and what it might cost me down the line. What I didn’t realize then was how much damage I could do to myself along the way by playing the system," he added.

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