Four-time Wimbledon doubles champion John McEnroe had some harsh words for the future of doubles competitions in Major championships. Speaking to journalists at the Statoil Masters, McEnroe made his feelings clear, saying that doubles competition should be removed from major tournaments.
“Why we are even playing doubles at this point is a mystery to me,” said McEnroe. “I love doubles but I don’t even recognise what this is. If there was a volleying contest from the service line, most of these guys couldn’t . . .” He stopped and sighed. “They play an inch from the net. It is like wham, bam, thank you ma’am.
The reasoning behind his opinion is simple: the money spent could be directed at struggling singles players and that may help develop that part of the game.
“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.”
The most successful doubles team at the moment are twins Bob and Mike Bryan, whose have reigned 344 consecutive weeks at the top of the rankings; a record for any pairing. Yet even considering their success in the doubles game, McEnroe was adamant that they wouldn’t find the same success in singles competition.
“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 Nadaltogether, I am taking them.”