Ray Brodeur

McEnroe Defaulted in Opening Match at Hall of Fame Champions Cup

NEWPORT, R.I., August 14 – John McEnroe was defaulted in his opening round-robin match at the $150,000 Hall of Fame Champions Cup Thursday at the International Tennis Hall of Fame due to audible, unsportsmanlike conduct and abuse of official code violations in his match with fellow American MaliVai Washington. The default marked the first time McEnroe was defaulted from a match on the Outback Champions Series, the international tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.

The series of events that lead to McEnroe’s dismissal came after McEnroe won the first set 6-3 and with Washington serving at 4-2, ad-in, in the second set in the opening round-robin match for both players. Arguing a line-call, McEnroe was issued a code violation warning for an audible obscenity by chair umpire Ray Brodeur. McEnroe continued his tirade against Brodeur and was issued consecutive abuse of official code violations. According to the Outback Champions Series Code of Conduct, match defaults are a four-step process, with the first violation resulting in a warning. The second violation results in a point penalty, a third violation – a game penalty and a fourth violation – a match default. McEnroe’s three violations gave Washington the second set 6-2 (the point penalty giving Washington the game for a 5-2 lead and the game penalty giving him the set by a 6-2 margin.) As McEnroe continued his tirade, fans at the Newport Casino became vocal and restless and began to yell at McEnroe to continue playing. McEnroe responded to the fans with a visible obscene gesture which resulted in a fourth code violation from Brodeur and McEnroe’s immediate default from the match.

Jon Venison, the Outback Champions Series co-founder and supervisor, was summoned to the court and confirmed the code violations and the default.

McEnroe did not meet with press following the incidents but will continue to compete in the eight-player round-robin format event.  He is next scheduled to play Karel Novacek on Friday.

“All players must abide by the same rules,” said Venison. “Umpires tend to be intimated by John which generally means they are more lenient with him. He crossed the line today. We are dealing with a group of extremely competitive guys, and John is one of them. He agreed to the first three code violations, but disagreed with the fourth (for an obscene gesture). John said that he did not do it, and the umpire said he 100 percent categorically saw it. We have to go with the umpire’s ruling.”

Said Washington following the match, “I guess 1992 in New Haven was the last time I played John. Has anything changed? I guess he has one of those explosive personalities, you could say. There are a lot of things I can deal with, disputed line calls, stoppage in play. I have an issue when my opponent starts berating people, fans, and umpires. I said something to the official. As players, we are in control of the match. Officials are in charge of the integrity of the game.”

McEnroe’s other high-profile default from a match came at the 1990 Australian Open when he was tossed out of a round-of-16 match with Sweden’s Mikael Pernfors due to audible obscenities. Said McEnroe following his default loss to Pernfors in 1990, “I don’t really have anyone to blame but myself. This is like a long story that culminates in me getting defaulted in a big tournament. I mean, I guess it was bound to happen. It’s too bad. I don’t feel good about it, but I can’t say that I’m totally surprised.”

Said Venison, “For the vast majority of players this is a non-issue. Historically there have been more issues with John’s matches than the other guys but this was over the top. We tell them (the umpires) to set guidelines early in the match so that the players know their boundaries. If you don’t, things can get ugly quickly.”

In other matches on Thursday, Jim Courier defeated Magnus Larsson 6-7 (2), 6-2, 10-6 and Mikael Pernfors defeated Wayne Ferreira 6-3, 6-3.

The Hall of Fame Champions Cup features an eight-man round-robin match format with the winner of each four-player division meeting in the title match while second place finishers in each division meet in the third-place match. The event features $150,000 in prize money with an undefeated winner taking home $54,000 as well as Stanford Champions ranking points that will determine the year-end champion and the winner of a $100,000 bonus. Play continues at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Friday with the continuation of round-robin play. Tickets for the event can be purchased by calling 866-914-FAME or at www.tennisfame.com. Play begins at noon on all days of the tournament.

The 2008 Outback Champions Series kicked off March 12-16 in Naples, Fla., at The Oliver Group Champions Cup where Todd Martin defeated McEnroe in the final. Courier won the second event of the season at The Residences at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Legends Championships April 16-20, defeating Ferreira in the final, while McEnroe won his first career Outback Champions Series event in Boston April 30- May 4, defeating Aaron Krickstein in the final. The next five events on the 2008 Outback Champions Series calendar are stops in Newport, R.I., Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Texas, Surprise, Arizona and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. More information can be obtained by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, established in 1954, is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. It was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s legendary grass courts remain the only competition grass courts available for professional events and exhibitions, while also available for public play. For more information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, events and programs, please call 401-849-3990 or log on to www.tennisfame.com.

InsideOut Sports & Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including one-night “Legendary Night” exhibitions as well as charity events and tennis fantasy camps, including the annual Ultimate Fantasy Camp. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com

Thursday’s Results – August 14
Mikael Pernfors, Sweden, def. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, 6-3, 6-3
MaliVai Washington, United States, def. John McEnroe, United States, 3-6, 6-2, default
Jim Courier, United States, def. Magnus Larsson, Sweden, 6-7 (2), 6-2, 10-6 (Champions Tie-Break)

Wednesday’s Results – August 13
Magnus Larsson, Sweden, def. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, 6-2, 6-2
Jim Courier, United States, def. Mikael Pernfors Sweden, 7-6 (1), 6-4
Pat Cash, Australia, def. Karel Novacek, Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-1

Jim Courier 2-0
Magnus Larsson 1-1
Mikael Pernfors 1-1
Wayne Ferreira 0-2

Pat Cash 1-0
Mal Washington 1-0
Karel Novacek 0-1
John McEnroe 0-1

Friday, August 15
Beginning at Noon
Magnus Larsson vs.  Mikael Pernfors
Followed by
Karel Novacek vs. John McEnroe
Followed by
Pat Cash vs. Mal Washington

Saturday, August 16
Beginning at Noon
Karel Novacek vs. Mal Washington
Followed by
Pat Cash vs. John McEnroe
Followed by
Jim Courier vs. Wayne Ferreira

Sunday, August 17
Beginning at Noon
Third Place Match
Followed by
Championship Match