John McEnroe: “Doubles—why are we even playing it?”

by: Matt Cronin | December 06, 2013

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John McEnroe, who won 78 doubles titles in his career, takes a shot at modern pro doubles, saying it’s becoming increasingly worthless. McEnroe is one of the last No. 1 singles players to consistently play singles and doubles. Sweden’s Stefan Edberg also played a lot of doubles, but it’s been rare to see any top singles player do so recently on a consistent basis.

McEnroe also won 77 singles titles.

“Doubles—why are we even playing it?” he said in an interview with The Times of London. “Most of you guys know I love doubles. But I look at it now and say, what is this? I don’t even recognize what this is.

“I don’t know what doubles is bringing to the table. The doubles are the slow guys who aren’t quick enough to play singles. Would it be better off, no disrespect, but would it be better off if there was no doubles at all, and we invest all the money we save elsewhere so that some other guys who never really got into a good position in the sport, end up playing more in singles?”

McEnroe’s former doubles partner, Peter Fleming, who now works at one of his academies in New York, added that he doesn’t believe Bob and Mike Bryan are the best doubles team ever. The California twins have won a record 93 titles including 13 Grand Slams. McEnroe and Fleming won seven majors together but believe they had tougher competition, having to play the likes of former No. 1 singles players such as Stan Smith and John Newcombe in doubles.

“I hear the greatest doubles players of all time—the Bryan Brothers and it’s ‘Excuse me?’ I find that comment unbelievable,” Fleming said.

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