How good is McEnroe still?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Surecatch, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Surecatch

    Surecatch Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Messages:
    626
    I watched him play in the old fellas' tournament on TV last night against Agassi and then Rafter and was pretty impressed at his skill level for being well into his fifties now. I really hadn't seen him play much since his tour days, other than youtube clips but looked like he hit harder than in his youth, which isn't surprising given advances in racquets, etc. He's naturally a little slower but still seems very accurate with his defense, especially considering his opponents also hit harder than back in the day.

    What would his USTA level be? Could he compete on the ATP tour still? Would he smoke Serena?
     
    #1
  2. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Messages:
    2,833
    Location:
    At Large
    1.) Irrelevant. He would destroy any 5.0 player out there and NTRPs above 5.0 are purely academic.

    2.) No way. He might take a match here or there but his body would not hold up for a whole tournament.

    3.) No. She'd win the physical battle.
     
    #2
  3. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,406
    totally agree with your points. i´m not sure McEnroe would agree with your point no.3:)
     
    #3
  4. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,452
    I bet he and a current ATP pro could go deep in doubles at a tournament.
     
    #4
  5. Surecatch

    Surecatch Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Messages:
    626
    This is pretty much what I'd have guessed but you guys know much better than I.
     
    #5
  6. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,110
    Mac's game always seem kinda low impact i.e. easy on the body. Not sure but perhaps he's been rather injury free most of his career. Hence, still able to play at a high level even now.
     
    #6
  7. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,365
    he is still tremendously good for his age (at least 5.5 more likely 6.0) but I'm not sure if the other guys are taking it easy on him.

    I mean they are 10-15 years younger then him so they might just not want to destroy him.
     
    #7
  8. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,081
    Thomas Muster came back to play Challengers after getting terribly out of shape and actually won a couple of matches and many of the matches were very competitive. Of course, that is at a level far higher than any woman, including Serena, plays. She probably wouldn't get more than a game or two if the Challenger guy relaxed a lot. Similarly, she would barely get a game from guys like Sampras or Rafter on the old guys tour. McEnroe is 8 years older than Muster and still plays a very high level of tennis, but even watching the tour on TV, I can tell he isn't as good as a few years ago. His game can still be mystifying, even to the former greats though, if he is playing well.
    All in all, I'd say he'd still beat any woman pretty easily.
     
    #8
  9. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    994
    Several years ago he won a ATP doubles tournament in Sacramento.

    Quite impressive for someone in their 50's.
     
    #9
  10. Topspin_80

    Topspin_80 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Messages:
    163
    He was 47 when he won that doubles tourny .
     
    #10
  11. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    4,672
    Uhh.. Serena has no chance against one of the best men's tennis player of all time.
     
    #11
  12. Surecatch

    Surecatch Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Messages:
    626
    It's an interesting question. I really don't know and that's why I'm asking. I do know that the women's game doesn't stand a chance against the men's game. But Mac' is in his fifties and so it's a fair question. Personally, I think it would be very close. I think Mac' would pull out front early but might wear down in a second set due to age and Serena could pull it out.

    But I really don't know. It's a fascinating question. I'm just really impressed with John's skills at this stage in his life. Forty-three is essentially way over the hill for tennis players, and we aren't even talking about that. We are talking about another ten years gone by.
     
    #12
  13. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Messages:
    981
    I agree Serena has no chance. Her pace would not bother him one bit. He has to be still a 7.0 or whatever the highest rating. I see no holes in his game or lack of speed. He is as good or better than the guys playing on the futures tours. Moves really well for being 50, still very light on his feet.

    At Indian Wells one of the lower ranked girls had my friend be a hitting partner. He teaches now so he doesn't play. He said just rallying they were 50/50. But when he served he had to take a lot spin off to give her a more realistic shot. He couldn't straight blast a serve by her too much but if she had to honor his angle spin serves the bigger T serve got him a very attackable ball. He also had very little trouble with her serve.

    This summer in socal I saw some friends play a doubles match with some guy I've never heard of from croatia who was ~ #200 in the world 8+ years ago. I actually thought they sorta could hang with him off the ground. But the guy served so big 120+ with mega spin. 1st, 2nd serve aces, he was whacking back 1st serve returns like they were sitters and his movement he got to great drop volleys like they were nothing.

    If you ever seen top men at court level you realize you have almost no shot at making a good return. If you somehow get it over it gets crushed. If you get lucky to hit a good shot (your good shot is a sitter to them) they are so fast they seem to be waiting for it to crush. The court coverage between a top woman and top man/ex top man/ex top 300 is night and day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
    #13
  14. Surecatch

    Surecatch Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Messages:
    626
    Yep. I don't know about the Serena part but the rest is spot on as I saw it. He was brutalizing Agassi for awhile. Andre got it together but still lost to John. Then Rafter beat him, but still...
     
    #14
  15. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    NLBwell, Muster on his comeback trail was mostly defeated clearly. McEnroe, given he was of same age, would have done better because he is a genius and Muster not. Also Borg failed terribly on his comeback trail.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
    #15
  16. Volley123

    Volley123 New User

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Messages:
    65
    The more sanguine question is Serena can take Mac in a UFC match
     
    #16
  17. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,652
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Probably the best 50+-year-old player in the world.
     
    #17
  18. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,652
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    #18
  19. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,387
    No, I don't think Serena would win against Mac....he'd still have a bit too much game for her. Plus, it's a game she's not all that used to seeing.
     
    #19
  20. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,081
    He lost in 3 sets 7 times and won 2 times out of 27 matches. So at least 1/3rd of the time, he was very competitive at the Challenger level.
    Not bad for an old guy whose game is based on dominating the other player physically.
    Of course McEnroe's game translates better to being old.
     
    #20
  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Physichal condition comes and leaves...but raw talent always stay.mac is a tribute to the word " natural talent".
     
    #21
  22. Mick

    Mick Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,350
    #22
  23. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Messages:
    2,833
    Location:
    At Large
    I'm a big McEnroe fan but let's be serious: he didn't look that good against Agassi nor Rafter. I'm taking Serena in a best of 3 match 4 times out of 5.
     
    #23
  24. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,743
    Location:
    no man's land
    this. you can say that the powershares/ insert sponsor name here/ senior tour is a bunch of glorified exhibitions, but some of those guys still very much want to win and jmac just went through them like my kid goes through a box of diapers! i was watching him play in sweden on ttc this a.m. and he kicked the snot out of everyone there (some of them he beat 2 & 2). muster, larsen, ivanesevic and some other dudes were there (not a bunch of college players). serena would be lucky to get a couple games. mac is hitting the ball as hard as ever and is serving and moving well. his touch, the most important part of his game, hasn't gone away.

    go ahead, someone set this up. all that's gonna happen is serena's gonna turn it into a ue fest after mac gets into net a few times. she's never faced anyone like mac before and she's gonna start going for broke. on second thought, don't set this up. it would be way too painful to watch! :oops:
     
    #24
  25. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,652
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    #25
  26. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,652
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Yes, you are right.

    Mac claims, that with the new larger, graphite (etc.) racquets, he hits the ball as hard as he ever did, and hits his serve harder.
     
    #26
  27. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    4,672
    Andre would beat Serena 6-0 6-0, and McEnroe was even better than Andre that day.
     
    #27
  28. canny

    canny Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Serena would easily beat mac. She'd be relentless.
     
    #28
  29. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,161
    Location:
    WA State
    Mac has the best hands ever, better than Fed. His timing, coolness, is incredible. I also saw him play modern players and he's AWESOME.

    Only problem he'd have today is injuries and lack of stamina as comes with age. Young Mac with modern equipment? I think he's be tops, or one of them.
     
    #29
  30. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,110
    Mac's timing really is incredible. Can skills like that even be taught...?
     
    #30
  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Mac invented shots that didn´t exist , even in his mind, before he did it.
     
    #31
  32. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,627
    He is unreal, I've seen him play twice recently at MSG, once against Lendl at the Sampras/Agassi exo, and then again against Agassi and Rafter this past Novemeber - his level was unreal, his hands are just butter - it really is hard to describe you need to see it in person.
     
    #32
  33. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,790
    Serena would beat Mac purely based on movement and fitness. I'm also not sure that the seniors tour isn't somewhat rigged. Mac doesn't move that well and some of the younger guys should crush him. I'm still amazed at how well he plays but I dont think he is any better than a 5.5 player. There are a lot of D1 players who would easily handle him.
     
    #33
  34. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,161
    Location:
    WA State
    Thank you! I don't like these "who would beat who" deals, but when you see Mac at 50 whatever moving like a ghost, hands like butter, shots here and there, you have to wonder if he had the same equipement when he was twelve against the guys of today. I saw him with Djoke, and I KNOW it was not real, but you can see it.

    Mac is awesome, as are all of the top players of their time, they did the best they could do with the courts and equipement given them, so it's really hard to judge.
     
    #34
  35. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,081
    5.5?? - That's pretty silly!!!!
    lot of D1 players?? - Depends if you think 10 or 20 is a lot.
    Yes, the guys playing Challengers would beat him (as they did Muster almost all the time). Mac would beat the guys playing Futures now.
    Mac would have a significant advantage in movement over Serena.

    Yes, Andre would often beat Serena 6-0, 6-0 if he went full-out. However, it is difficult to tell just how hard Agassi was playing against McEnroe.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
    #35
  36. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,648
    San Jose. 47
     
    #36
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Seerena would just be salivating.never played such a class.Well, except when she was young and met Martina Hingis
     
    #37
  38. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,081
    So you think Serena would win about half the time as she did with Hingis? I don't think she would have a shot at keeping it close. You don't understand how much better the men pros and even college players are than the women pros.
     
    #38
  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    I just talked about class.
     
    #39
  40. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,081
    I misunderstood.
     
    #40
  41. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,648
    Comments like the bolded ones are delusional.
     
    #41
  42. elamarrj

    elamarrj New User

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2012
    Messages:
    28
    #42
  43. pjonesy

    pjonesy Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,098
    You make some good points. However, Muster is a very different type of player. He is basically a clay court grinder. Muster's game style relies on consistency, heavy topspin strokes, physicality, stamina and intensity. Considering that the 1st thing to diminish in world class athletes is foot speed, that type of player would be in way over his head competing on the current ATP tour. He just couldn't get to every ball and would end up having to go for winners out of position, just to win points. As opposed to outlasting his opponents, which he would prefer.

    McEnroe is a serve and volley player with the softest hands at the net in history. On a fast court, his game could give the young guys trouble. They've never seen a game like his. It's amazing to watch. But, the game seemed to pass him by in the late 80s and early 90s. He just did not have the powerful, controlled topspin groundstrokes that were starting to rule the game at that point. Along with losing a step, McEnroe was being pushed back by the heavy, hard groundstrokes and could not get to the net easily. His serve and volley game was still effective. When he hit the serve the way he wanted. Overall, he just had to hit phenomenal shots just to win points. But he may have more power in his game right now, due to training advances and racquet/string technology. He would lose to Serena, but it would be close. McEnroe's skill vs Serena's physical strength. If McEnroe could get to the net and hit low volleys Serena couldn't dig out easily, maybe a chance. Serena does like rhythm and McEnroe could disrupt that. If she is clicking off the ground, she will get stronger and more confident throughout the match.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
    #43
  44. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,627
    McEnroe would not lose to Serena. I think you are seriously underestimating his ground game. His current day backhand is still one of the best shots in tennis.

    If he can handle Pete Sampras' serve still, he can handle Serena's.

    Again, I think you under estimate how good Mac's groundies are - even today
     
    #44
  45. WARPWOODIE

    WARPWOODIE Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    369
    Great skills for a 50 year old but...he still has his temper :(
    You would think that would have faded away.
     
    #45
  46. Onehandedbackhand

    Onehandedbackhand Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    Messages:
    967
    Been lurking for some time...finally able to get on here after a little difficulty.

    I have read some posts on McEnroe, and while most are realistic, there are some that are simply delusional. I don't think any of those people understand the level the man played at, and still plays at. There seems to be two arguments against Mac that I hear.

    1. He's too old

    2. He doesn't hit with enough pace, so a 5.5 could beat him(or something like that).

    Here's something to chew on. I have seen him play in person once...the exo with Sock at the SAP in San Jose. While it was an exo, you can still see the difference between him and a 5.5 or a 6.0. Pace doesn't bother him an ounce, his hands are as soft as anyone you'll ever see, and the angles on his shots cause anyone fits. This isn't just someone acting like a Dustin Brown or Alex Dolgopolov playing seek and destroy with a forehand. It's spin, angle, timing, footwork, court coverage, everything that makes him that much different from a 5.5 or 6.0. My guess is that he could hit at a 3.0s pace and still win 1 and 1. Any harder and it's a double bagel.
     
    #46
  47. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    7,214
    Dude is crazy good still. Amazing considering his age. Rafter did hand him his but a few weeks ago though
     
    #47
  48. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,819
    a 7time gs champion and world class athlete doesnt all of a sudden lose his skills by aging a few years. this is a nice practice video of him that shows how flawless and smooth his technique is and it seems he has all the time in the world to react to the ball

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAlQVeeFLLU
     
    #48
  49. jokinla

    jokinla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,705
    He's still a pro, so off the USTA chart, and yes he could beat Serena, as far as competing on the ATP tour, he could, but not at the higher end, especially with todays game.
     
    #49
  50. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Basically agree. But Mac still plays great tennis. I love to watch him play.
     
    #50

Share This Page