John McEnroe Rips Doubles, Says He’ll Take Federer/Nadal Over The Bryans Any Day!
by Tom Gainey | December 8th, 2013, 10:24 am

Speaking at the Statoil Masters earlier this week, outspoken legend John McEnroe ripped into the current state of doubles on the tennis circuit, calling for the discipline to be abolished!

“Why we are even playing doubles at this point is a mystery to me,” McEnroe told the Telegraph. “I love doubles but I don’t even recognise what this is. … They play an inch from the net. It is like wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

“If you cut out doubles and gave that money to singles players ranked between 200 and 1,000, maybe that would do something for the game. Then some other guy who never really had the chance to play ends up becoming No 100 in the world instead of quitting when he’s No 400.

“Most doubles players, I hate to say, are the slow guys who were not quick enough to play singles.”

As the moment few top singles players enter doubles tournaments and among the final 16 men (8 teams) to qualify for the London ATP Finals event last month, only the Bryans, Leander Paes, Radek Stepanek and Fernando Verdasco were among the faces an average fan would recognize.

And even the Bryans, one of the all-times greats, were in McEnroe’s crosshairs.

“What do you think they are playing doubles for? I like them and single-handledly they’ve tried to keep doubles going. There is something cool to watch these twins.

“But sometimes I hear people saying they are the greatest doubles players of all time. I’m like ‘Excuse me?’ If you put Federer and Nadal together, I am taking them.”

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58 Comments for John McEnroe Rips Doubles, Says He’ll Take Federer/Nadal Over The Bryans Any Day!

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Put Rafa and Roger in doubles against the Bryan brothers and i would pay good money to see that particular match up,the greatest doubles pairing against the two greatest singles players of all time,hmm that would be a great popcorn match,i think they should do it and put all the money to charity,my money would be on Roger and Rafa in 3 tight sets,John is onto something there lol.

Hawkeye Says:

An 18 yr old Raonic and 19 yr old Pospisil beat Nadal and Djokovic in doubles four years ago!!! And they weren’t even known doubles players (or singles at that time for that matter).

Yes Roger is a better doubles player than Nole but my money would be on the Bryan Bros. over Fedal.

Steve 27 Says:

I disagree Hawkeye, if Vedasco and Marrero can defeat the Bryan brothers I am certain Nadal and Federer cam win 9 of 10 against the americans. But what is most important in a doubles partner: Well, is like love, is if there is no chemistry, no chance of it working.
And I’m sure that Canadians have more chemistry together than Nadal and Djokovic, I have no doubt about that.

Okiegal Says:

Who wouldn’t pay to see the two greatest singles players play a match against the greatest doubles team……I sure would. Now the winners….not sure about that. Someone needs to get that idea going!!
How about another exho for charity?? Lol

Hawkeye Says:

Yeah the Bryan bros aren’t playing as well this year so maybe you’re right but at their peak, I’d take them.

Ben Pronin Says:

They won 3/4 slams… that’s not playing well?

Kimberly Says:

Federer and wawrinka beat the Bryans at the Olympics hardly ever playing together

skeezer Says:

I’d take Fed/Nole over Rafa/Fed as teams go any day.

Fed places his serve usually really well, Nole’s return is bar none. Plus he can shorten up his return with direction back in good measure. Nole is ok volleyer, Fed’s supreme.

skeezer Says:

I wouldn’t discount the Bryans doubles game too much. As anyone here seen them? They have played super good under crunch times. They navigate trough a doubles match like no others playing now.

Thangs Says:

I don’t enjoy doubles ..its just a reflex hit..hardly any brain into it..

Perfect fan Says:

Regardless of the outcome of the match….wud die for such a possible match-up.

Rather my ultimate wish is to see fedal(fed-rafa) vs nozza (nole-muzza) in a doubles match-up….I m already having goosebumps typing it…. ;))

skeezer Says:

“Thangs Says:
I don’t enjoy doubles ..its just a reflex hit..hardly any brain into it..”

Yes, fans, this is the comment of the ones of how they think tennis is played, the unknowledgable poster rafafanatic tennis fan, the……

Welcome to the Koolaid world of Armani, Butts and Biceps. Oh, is the Tennis? Sorry, whats that? And about that doubles thing….does that mean there are 2 Rafas?

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal exactly what i said at the top of the thread,so great minds think alike,i also think the match up that Perfect Fan is suggesting would be great to see.

Giles Says:
Here you go, fed turns down Rafa’s offer to play doubles.
The sheer arrogance of the man!

chico Says:

It would be a loss for mankind if the greatest game ever played would drop the discipline requiring the art of teamwork.

RogerThat Says:

The ONLY reason the Bryan bros are currently considered the best is because they are the ONLY real double team. By that I mean : being brothers, almost by definition they live close from each other, get opportunities to train together (and even have a coach !!), travel together, play all tournaments together. On top of it, by being twins, they have the same age, so have the exact same career path.
Most other double teams are not even from the same country, so they don’t even live next to each other, hence they hardly train together !! Obviously don’t have a team coach. Change partners over the course of a career. Or have to stop because their partner retires because is older.
So that’s a basic recipe. A team vs random associations. So this is the proof nobody cares about doubles, not even the players (except the Bryans bros).
So it’s a joke to say the Bryans are the best double players ever : if any other real team existed (consistent partner troughout a career, training together, and even having a coach, playing all tournaments together, and not playing singles), I bet the Bryan bors would just be an average team. Period.

skeezer Says:

2006? Like 7 yrs ago? C’mon, you’re reaching for something that isn’t there(like imaginary arrogance), as usual. Besides, the article goes at length explaining his legitimate reasons! No controversy there.

SG1 Says:

Ole’ Johnny is a crack up isn’t he? I can smell the arrogance in his latest rant. If that mouth had a motor the world’s energy crisis would be solved.

There is so much money in singles tennis that the top guys won’t risk injury. Add to this the fact that the slams are so grueling, do you really think that a guy can play 4 hours and then head out to the doubles court 2 hours later? It’s ridiculous.

The problem isn’t with the doubles but with the present nature of the singles game. If you want to see the top name players play more doubles then speed up the court (or the balls) to shorten the points. Why should an elite pro in singles jeopardize his pay day (and chance and winning the whole thing) over a doubles titles? Mac used doubles to practice his singles. This mind set is no longer practical. I believe that Mac’s eyes are blurred by time or age or some combination of both.

SG1 Says:

The top players are also really slam-centric (damn that Sampras, Woods, Nicklaus thing). Doubles is no longer a way of working on things. It’s more of a distraction.

Thangs Says:

/*Yes, fans, this is the comment of the ones of how they think tennis is played, the unknowledgable poster rafafanatic tennis fan, the……

Oh yes..Olympic doubles gold is a consolation for you fans..

Giles Says:

Fed sucks at doubles. Wawawawa carried him through the Olympics doubles match and DC.

skeezer Says:

“Oh yes..Olympic doubles gold is a consolation for you fans..”

C’mon…Fed has 2 medals. How many do you have?

Okiegal Says:

@Chic….I did do a repeat…..what can I say…great minds do think alike!! I do like doubles, they seem to be showing dubs on TV a little more, I think they should. It is fun to watch!!

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Giles surely Stan coulnt have done it without Roger,and vice versa its a team effort in doubles,just saying.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal we must be kindred sisters i believe ;))..

Okiegal Says:


I couldn’t agree more! We really do think alike. I said one time before that my ancestors came to America from Wales (Dads side) and Scotland (Mums side)……one never knows how far those family tree branches extend. I do enjoy our chats. I have no one to talk tennis with, all my friends hate it. I do enjoy TX, for the most part. The player bashing gets to be too much some time……but we shall persevere!!

Kimberly Says:

Skeezer, have you ever really watched nadal close at the net? He has insane hands. He has won a few doubles titles he is actually a very very good doubles player, not just a good singles player playing doubles

skeezer Says:

Yes he has unusually good hands at the net for his style of game. But Volley skills with intentional angles? Jave you wver seen him employ S & V in his game plan comfortably? I differ. Also, his transitional game approaching the net is nil compared to a Step or Fed. His net play is setup as an afterthought from his power play from back court.
That said, why should he be concerned? He doesn’t need it.

skeezer Says:

Niners needed that win against the Seachickens, whew!

Okiegal Says:

I think Rafa has gotten so much better at the net. His volley skills have improved a lot…..he knows he’s got to shorten the points. I’ll just bet he is working on that very thing…..right along with his serve! I believe his goal is to improve his game in every way possible.

roy Says:

i’m sorry, but federer and nadal would not work against the bryans.
federer would purposely shank volleys on nadal’s service games to get nadal broken.

however, federer and nadal is a better team than federer and djoker because nadal has better volleys than djoker and is a lefty so you can have two forehands on the stretch from either side.

Kimberly Says:

FSU playing for the championship !

I agree he uses his net game as an afterthought but Johnny Mac thinks he could develop it that he does have great hands and touch. It’s just undeveloped because it doesn’t really fit in his game style. But when you watch him play doubles with arc Lopez they have a very good chemistry and he seems to understand doubles strategy very well.

Glad San Fran beat the Seahawks! And the dolphins won in the snow. But how bad did the steelers look

Purcell Says:

John McEnroe,a troublesome person who changes his opinions within a nanosecond is, in this instance,clearly reminiscing for the days of accomplished volleying (reflex, angled, transitional)which at present can only really be witnessed in doubles. The recent history and indeed demise of good volleying skills are I’m sure, familiar to all.

Humble Rafa Says:

Angry Man has a point. Twins are rude, self-serving dudes.

Doubles players should be required to play a certain number of main draw singles matches a year. If they don’t qualify for the main draw, they should retire.

Leander Paes is 41. I am not sure he can play ANY singles.

On the other hand, I do know why Hot Sauce plays doubles. All his singles money is spent on hair gel and he needs to eat.

SG1 Says:

Imagine you’re a person committed to playing tennis since you were a kid. You hit 19 or 20 and realize that you just aren’t quite good enough to make it to the upper echelons of singles tennis. Do you just throw it all away and push grocery carts in a parking lot at Walmart? If there’s an option to make a living (or a lot better than just making a living) playing tennis, wouldn’t you take it? The professionals playing doubles for a living are still phenomenal tennis players. They’re just not one of the 50 of 60 best players in the world. Why should that matter anyway. Everyone has a right to make a living right?

Mac is saying some pretty stupid things here. By his thought process, Peter Fleming shouldn’t have been allowed to play doubles because let’s face it, his singles play wasn’t much to brag about. I don’t see him ripping Fleming. Mac is showing is age. Or should I call him Macasaurus.

skeezer Says:

lol good one.

Dolphins win in snow? 7-6? What’s happening? ;)

SG1 Says:

A little too hard in Fleming. While his singles record wasn’t stellar, he did win a few small titles. Nonetheless, he was by no means, a dominating singles force.

Hamza Says:

John is wrong on this one. I think he hates the chest bump the Bryan Brothers do – he’s just not saying it.

M Says:

“Put Rafa and Roger in doubles against the Bryan brothers and i would pay good money to see that particular match up”

You and me both, TXHC. I love Johnny Mac, but sometimes I think he just talks out of the side of his head.

I mean, think about it. How can he complain that the reflexes of doubles players are “just not good enough” when the standard for everything in tennis – stamina, reflexes, shotmaking, injury resistance, tournament longevity … and that’s just off the top of my head – is increasing incrementally every year? If you put any of today’s stars back in time and JMac had to play at the peak of his singles career against him … I think all sorts of things might happen that he might not expect.

Not to speak of which — I love to see the Masters stars play doubles. But if we didn’t *have* doubles, like JMac says we shouldn’t, there’s a rather substantial possibility those stars might have to just fade into the woodwork, because there might well be less fans interested in seeing them play … and, quite frankly, I’m not sure some of those outsize egos could take that. I’m not sure he’s thought that one all the way through.

Humble Rafa Says:

Impressed with the quality of this site. Usually when there is no tennis, this becomes a porn site with different characters making out with each other.

Keep it up, boys and girls.

Now back to practice.

WTF Says:


He doesn’t mince words.

hawkeye Says:

By not quick enough, he is referring to court coverage, not necessarily reflexes.

MMT Says:

I find it very difficult to take McEnroe seriously – after all, because the distribution of wealth in the singles game is so heavily weighted towards the top players, if you were to get rid of doubles all together, singles players would find it more and more difficult to survive for longer periods of time. Doubles doesn’t just allow doubles specialists to make a living, it also allows singles aspirants to make a living while their singles game develops.

But McEnroe, tennis biggest loveable narcissist, is so myopic in his view that all great players should play in and be great in all competitions (just because he did) loses sight of elimintating doubles would in fact eliminate this badly needed chance for some players (who might make it in singles one day) to earn a living in the mean time.

And this man wanted to be the commissioner of tennis…I certainly hope not!

Humble Rafa Says:

And this man wanted to be the commissioner of tennis…I certainly hope not!

Even Prime Minister Barack Obama would not have tolerated that!

Margot Says:

Lol, love Mac but prefer him on court to off. As someone says he has an opinion on everything and it changes with the wind.

James Says:

Was wondering where to post this.

Well, Michael Chang is set to coach Nishikori in 2014.

A very good move from team Nishikori IMO. This tells me that Kei is keen to prove himself and not satisfied to be just a top 20 player.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

James thanks for that bit of info,Kie is one of my favorite up and coming players,i believe he has alot of potential,and is future GS winning meterial,especially on HCs which seem to suit his game the most,i tipped him for the top 10 this year in the tennis x top 10 contest,and although he didnt quite make it the top 20 is a good start,i got it right about Tipsaravic falling out of the top 10 though.

Steve 27 Says:

Would be interesting if Chang teach Nishikori how to
used the underhand serve.
” service à la cuillère” in french

SG1 Says:

In Mac’s failed bid for the commissioner’s spot, some of his agenda was accidentally leaked. Some of his more interesting ideas were:

1) The French Open and Australian don’t count as majors.

2) He gets a royalty for every YouTube viewing of the “You cannot be serious” rant.

3) Everyone would have to play with his Dunlop Maxply racket. Poor Rafa ;)

4) The number one ranking is no longer determined by points or tournament wins. This is just too rigid. Mac decides it every morning when he gets up.

5) Points are forfeited after more than 5 baseline shots. The guy closer to the net after 5 shots wins the point. NO EXCEPTIONS! These damn players today would be better if they would get to the net!

6) Ivan Lendl is formally removed from all of tennis history.

7) Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase would be appointed to his staff as ambassadors of good will for the sport.

8) Rod Laver is to be canonized even if he is Australian.

Some interesting ideas to be sure. Good luck Mac.

Super Says:


SG1, love the humour.

I’m a big fan of J-Mac, but sometimes his ideas are a little strange. This may be why he is entertaining to read.

I’d love to see Jimmy Connors and Nastase as ambassadors! That would be a riot.

Roger That Says:

Yes I agree with you Super and SG1!!!

Haha Mac just seems to make it up as he goes along, doesn’t he!

Humble Rafa Says:

Some interesting ideas to be sure. Good luck Mac.

He was the first one to call me a bigger goat.

Margot Says:

Lol SG1, love No 4! Seems about right….

Tennis Guru Says:

McEnroe will say anything to remain relevant with no respect for anyone. He says he doesn’t recognize the game of doubles because he’s no longer playing it. How many out there think Johnny Mac would be a relevant singles player in today’s game against today’s players?

SG1 Says:

I think Mac’s rants can often be dismissed but his game and immeasurable talent can’t be. Mac grew up playing tennis in 60’s and 70’s. At that time, I believe 3 of the 4 slams were on grass and as such, most of the great players attacked the net.

If Mac had grown up in the 90’s(not that he’s really ever grown up), his game would be more of a reflection of this period. With his talent, I believe that he would have developed a game that would have made him a winner. He was after all, not just a brilliant talent, but a fierce competitor as well.

John R Says:

JM is creating some controversy buzz but he does have a point. Doubles is usually populated by the older guys – 30-40 yrs old – who never quite made it in singles.

As to Rafa and Roger beating the Bryan Bros. in doubles. I would say yes – if they played together more often and had good chemistry. The pieces are there – Rafa lefty, Roger righty; both great returners, proficient volleyers. Some might think Mac is a little off on some opinions but in this case I think he is “righty” :).

Brian Says:

Ah Come on John.

With Isner ranked 11 and Querry at 51, that mean 1 American is in the top 50 ATP single rankings.

Says there is something wrong with singles in America,

not Doubles.


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