Fast Facts About Tennis Prodigy and Temper Tantrum Star, John McEnroe

John McEnroe is hands-down one of the best tennis players of our time. But it’s not just his titles and championship career that people know him for. McEnroe is also known as a player with an attitude. His supreme volleying skills mixed with his on-court temper has made him somewhat of a controversial player with tennis authorities and umpires.

John McEnroe announcing at the Wimbledon Court Celebration 2019 / John McEnroe photographed mid-air during a game

Photo by Dave Shopland, BPI, Shutterstock / Monty Fresco, Daily Mail, Shutterstock

The tennis prodigy’s infamous rivalry with Swedish tennis player Björn Borg led to one of the greatest matches ever played: the 1980 Wimbledon final. So what’s the story behind one of the most high-profile and successful tennis players in history? Let’s find out!

Nicknamed “Superbrat” by the Brits

While McEnroe was known for his playing style, which is often described as agile and sharp, he is also known for his on-court antics. The tennis player became known for having a volatile personality and many of his temper tantrums towards other tennis players, umpires, and even himself, were well-documented.

John McEnroe throwing a temper tantrum at Wimbledon 1981

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Tabloids trashed McEnroe for his behavior, often writing about how his outbursts tainted his playing style. The British tabloids even nicknamed him “Superbrat” for his childlike tantrums that he pulled almost every match.

Born Into a Military Household

McEnroe was born to a military family in Wiesbaden, West Germany. He is the eldest of three sons, one of which is also a professional tennis player. McEnroe’s father, who was the son of Irish immigrants, was stationed in the US Airforce.

John McEnroe with his parents and siblings

Photo by Graham Wood / Daily Mail / Shutterstock

When he was less than a year old, McEnroe and his family moved back to the states and settled in Queens, New York. His father eventually left the army to get his law degree from Fordham Law School, while working as an advertising agent during the day.