Kill the Umpire!”
Some two decades since his legendary career began to wind down, John McEnroe still believes that would be the best thing for tennis.
“In five years we won’t need umpires,” said McEnroe, before he and Martina Hingis took the court for the WTT New York SportTimes vs. Billie Jean King’s Philadelphia Freedom at Villanova. “You got a challenge system in place that most people seem to like. I would find it more interesting if players called their own lines. It would be different, because most of the time they’d be right. I think the players might even remember the score.”
Outspoken as always, the 52-year-old McEnroe still gets his juices flowing for World TeamTennis. Tonight, he’ll face storied rival Bjorn Borg in a match on Randall’s Island in New York. McEnroe believes that if the current challenge system had been around when he was screaming at chair umpires, it would’ve helped his career.
“I’d have had a lot more energy to play,” said McEnroe, who opened a tennis academy last year. “I’d have been able to use that energy to focus on what I should’ve been doing in the first place — hitting the ball properly. Some people would say I would’ve won less majors. I think I would’ve won more, but been more boring.’’