Legendary tennis player John McEnroe’s won’t be in the commentator booth or conduct on-court interviews at this year’s Australian Open as he has not travelled Down Under following a commendatory shake-up.
Seven-time Grand Slam winner McEnroe is considered one of the best tennis commentators and analysts and he has been a key member of Channel 9’s team over the past few years.
However, his employers ESPN has decided not to include him in their team for this year’s season-opening Grand Slam and, as a result, he won’t be making his way to Australia.
It means he will not be providing analysis or do on-court interviews for host broadcaster Channel 9. The American will instead work for Eurosport for the duration of the Australian Open.
The former world No 1’s fascinating and quirky post-match interviews will certainly be missed.
It means tennis will miss out on a possible McEnroe-Novak Djokovic interview at Melbourne Park. McEnroe would certainly not have hesitated to ask hard-hitting questions to the 21-time Grand Slam about his deportation last year.
In an interview ahead of the tournament, McEnroe stated the Serbian is likely to still be a bit bitter following the 2022 controversy.
“I think he will be overjoyed at first, but then there is going to sort of be a bit of bitterness, I believe, and he has got to get through that,” he said.
“I think he can get through that, he’s obviously proven that he has gone through some unbelievably difficult obstacles, none more so than the last 12 months of his career.
“The fact that he was still able to go out and win Wimbledon and go out and play these smaller events in the fall to get his ranking high enough so that he can go and win the event in Turin and the year-end event, and embrace playing and competing, was just incredible because it would have been very easy to be frustrated and angry.”
Another former player who won’t be doing commentator duties is Australian Sam Groth as he is now a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly.
Jim Courier, though, will return and is expected to do the bulk of the on-court interviews with Jelena Dokic also in the fold again.
The rest of the Channel 9 analyses team will comprise of Todd Woodbridge, Lleyton Hewitt, Dylan Alcott, Casey Dellacqua, Sam Smith, Alicia Molik, Mark Philippoussis, Darren Cahill and Peter Psaltis.
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