John McEnroe stunned the tennis elite when he came out of nowhere to make the Wimbledon semifinals at the age of eighteen—and just a few years later, he was ranked number one in the world. You Cannot Be Serious is McEnroe at his most personal, a no-holds-barred examination of Johnny Mac, the kid from Queens, and his “wild ride” through the world of professional tennis at a boom time when players were treated like rock stars. Here he candidly explores the roots of his famous on-court explosions; his ambivalence toward the sport that made him famous; his adventures (and misadventures) on the road; his views of colleagues from Connors to Borg to Lendl; his opinions of contemporary tennis—and his current roles as husband, father, senior tour player, and often-controversial commentator—in a “bracing new serve-and-volley autobiography” (The Boston Globe).
In his new role as TV commentator (and in his short-lived run as Davis Cup captain) McEnroe has tried to make the unlikely switch from tennis enfant terrible to tennis elder statesman. Judging by the welcome he has received from both the cognoscenti and the American public, it has been a largely successful transition. This memoir of growing up (or not growing up) on the men's tour tracks the same course. Unfortunately, when shifted to the page, the reinvention produces a much more muddled result. All of the career highlights and lowlights are here his idolization of Borg, his seminal matches with Connors and at Davis Cup, his clashes with the British press at Wimbledon, his romantic perambulations. But while appealingly self-aware ("For me, the relief of not losing has always been just as strong as, if not stronger than, the joy of winning") and consistently honorable, the effort feels a little dull. McEnroe's sincere pronouncements lack the cojones that might have made the book entertaining, and yet for all his openness, he engages in too much self-justification to seem truly vulnerable or poignant. The book grew out of a profile Kaplan wrote for the New Yorker two summers ago. That piece managed to present McEnroe as affable without diluting what is essentially brash and true about the star, and one wishes a little more of that boldness would have crept in here. For McEnroe, the persona hinted at in public remains more interesting and complicated than the person he gives us in this book. While the champion would no doubt argue, it appears that he has hit this one a little wide.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great insight into a complicated man
I thoroughly enjoyed listen to the man talk about the man. I always knew he was complicated but never knew the 'inside story' until now. Great read!!!
You can't be serious
Good read. Mac is brutally honest. I disliked him in his early years, but he has grown on me.
I still think all former number one tennis pros are super egomaniacs. Addicted to attention and adulation.
This book, as well as Sampras' and Connors proves that.
Fun to read.
Great book :) !!!
If you liked Open by Andre Agassi you will love this book