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Looking Back on John McEnroe’s Davis Cup Captaincy

John McEnroe

While the U.S. Tennis Association prepares to choose and name a new U.S. Davis Cup captain to replace Patrick McEnroe, it is interesting to look back 11 years at the start of the U.S. captaincy of Patrick’s older brother John. Arguably the greatest American Davis Cupper in the history of the competition, John McEnroe was named by the USTA to replace Tom Gullikson as U.S. captain during the 1999 U.S. Open (incidentally, the press conference occurred on Gullikson’s 48th birthday).

Following his US Open press conference where he was officially introduced as the skipper of America’s tennis team, McEnroe’s next public appearance as U.S. captain came a month later when the draw for the 2000 competition was made on October 7, 1999.

The following is what took place, as documented in Randy Walker’s book “ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY” ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com) on the afternoon of October 7, 1999.

1999 – Less than one month after being named captain of th

e U.S. Davis Cup team and John McEnroe creates his first international incident as the United States is drawn to play an away match against the African nation of Zimbabwe in the first round the 2000 Davis Cup. Speaking to reporters at a U.S. Tennis Association organized event at the ESPN Zone in New York City, McEnroe says of the away match against Zimbabwe, “I am sure that word is seeping out that our worse case scenario has just taken place. We need like 27 shots or something to go down there.” After meeting with reporters, McEnroe takes questions from fans at the theme restaurant and is asked what surface he expects the match to be on. Responds McEnroe, “That is their choice. They are going to try to pick a surface that they feel they have the best chance of beating us on which will probably be cow dung …” The following day, “Page Six” the famous gossip column in the New York Post reports the Zimbabwean government’s outrage over McEnroe’s comments. “This is disparaging,” Immanuel Gumbo, attache at the Zimbabwe mission to the UN tells Page Six. “When we beat Australia last year we didn’t play on a cow dung court. We admire Mr. McEnroe for his gifts but you have to wonder what must go on inside his head.”

With the current situation that is ongoing in Zimbabwe, under the tyrannical rule of President Robert Mugabe, one can say that insulting the Mugabe government would not be considered such a sin.

McEnroe and the U.S. team were able to barely edge Zimbabwe 3-2 with Davis Cup rookie Chris Woodruff winning the fifth-and-decisive rubber from Wayne Black. After another 3-2 knee-knocker win in Los Angeles over the Czech Republic, the U.S. was shut-out by Spain 5-0 in the semifinals in Santander, Spain. McEnroe was not able to convince Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras to step up and play in the post-Wimbledon clay-court semifinal against Spain and resigned as the U.S. captain later in the year, paving the way for his younger brother Patrick to assume the helm and serve as U.S. captain for 10 years.

JENNIFER CAPRIATI HOSPITALIZED AFTER OVERDOSE

TMZ and other news outlets have reported that former world No. 1 Jennifer Capriati was rushed to the hospital this morning after a possible overdose.

The call came from a hotel in Riviera Beach, FL, and Capriati was transported to a nearby hospital.

Stefano, Jennifer’s father, said she is recovering well from the incident.

Capriati, 34, won three Grand Slam titles and a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics. She last competed in 2004 due to recovery from shoulder surgery. Capriati gave an interview to the New York Post last year, in which she revealed she was unable to cope with her post-playing days and had attempted suicide.

ROGER FEDERER LUNCHES WITH TIGER WOODS’ WIFE ELIN NORDEGREN IN KEY BISCAYNE

Elin Nordegren, the cheated upon wife of Tiger Woods, may be seeking comfort from Roger Federer, a friend of Woods and fellow sports dominator.

In the linked story from the New York Post here: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/is_elin_finding_any_solace_roger_XCk8PKdrFOMsg16L6qcJ8H, Nordegren and one-year-old son Charlie dined at an exclusive hotel on Key Biscayne with Federer and his wife Mirka and their twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, who about eight months old.

Woods, who will play his first golf event since his sex scandal erupted last November, at The Masters in Augusta, Ga., this week.

Federer and Woods have been linked by reputation and dominance in their respective sports. Both athletes are sponsored by Nike and both used to be sponsored by Gillette, until Woods was dumped by the brand when his numerous sexual affairs came to light.

Here’s a link to an article our site posted two years ago – featuring an excerpt from the Rene Stauffer book THE ROGER FEDERER STORY: QUEST FOR PERFECTION – where the first meeting between Woods and Federer is documented: http://www.tennisgrandstand.com/archives/696

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