‘Mac the Brat’, John McEnroe was perhaps the most talented left-hander to grace the Wimbledon Courts in over a hundred years of its history. But ever since he won the men’s singles title at the ‘Mecca’ of lawn tennis in 1981, he had been at war with Wimbledon. Though he won the titles again in 1983 and 1984, and his epic battles with Bjorn Borg on the Centre Court are now legend, he never enjoyed the stiff-upper-lip attitude there. He constantly foul-mouthed the tournament linesmen and referees, and even called them the ‘pits of the earth’.
In 1989, he received four death threats on phone during the tournament, and had to be escorted by armed guards. On one occasion when his guards were not by his side, a young American – ashamed of McEnroe’s tantrums - raced up to him and sprayed ‘AIR FRESHENER’ in his face!
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