Tennis champion John Patrick McEnroe, Jr. (1959-) was born on this day in Wiesbaden, Germany, where his father was stationed in the U.S. Air Force. Raised in Queens, John turned pro at age 18.
"I think it's the mark of a great player to be confident in tough situations," he once said.
The holder of a record 154 professional tennis titles, the famous lefthander won the U.S. Open singles title in 1979, 1980, 1981, and 1984 and Wimbledon singles championship in 1981, 1983, and 1984.
Known for aggressive play and cocky intensity on and off the court, his notorious conflicts with officials during matches were legendary. "You are the pits," he said to an umpire at the 1981 Wimbledon grand slam tournament. His behavior stunned the tennis world.
A self-described "spoiled, loudmouthed, ill-tempered cry baby," he said, "There's probably times every day where I feel like I lose control."
Upon his 1999 induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, McEnroe called himself "the last guy to play great tennis with a wood racquet." Nowadays he spends his time as a senior circuit player, respected TV commentator, avid rock guitarist, and best-selling author.
"The important thing is to learn a lesson every time you lose," "Mac" said. "Life is a learning process and you have to try to learn what's best for you. Let me tell you, life is not fun when you're banging your head against a brick wall all the time."
Find your happiness within.