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On Being John McEnroe

On Being John McEnroe


Read a fan's eye view of one of tennis's most notorious stars, and an exploration into the idea of sporting obsession.

The perfect nostalgic treat for any Wimbledon fan.

The greatest sports stars characterise their times. They also help to tell us who we are. John McEnroe, at his best and worst, encapsulated 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 that we can measure our own lives by. Talking to McEnroe, his friends and rivals, and drawing on a range of reference, he presents a book that is both a fan's-eye portrait of the most vivid player ever to pick up a racket, and an original study of the idea of sporting obsession.


  • Terrific...On one level, it's about the author's fascination with a tennis player. But it's much more than this; it's a book about how the world has changed in our lifetime
    William Leith, New Statesman

About the author

Tim Adams

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