John McEnroe wears many TV tennis hats
John McEnroe called me Thursday (see post below) as part of his media rounds to promote prostate cancer screening through this program, which is funded by GlaxoSmithKline.
Mr. McEnroe also was available to answer questions about tennis as the U.S. Open approaches.
First, I asked him a media question: Now that he will be appearing on ESPN, does it ever get confusing doing analysis on so many different TV networks as the unofficial Voice of Tennis?
He said the biggest challenge is going from the BBC, where there are no commercials, back to American television and its frequent breaks.
"I think it's been pretty smooth," he said. "I've been lucky that the networks I've been on have worked together. And they've also allowed me to do my thing and let me be who I am . . . I know at ESPN they like to do things their way, but hopefully they'll let me be myself. I'm excited about it."
I also asked McEnroe whether the fact U.S. tennis fans have embraced the Federer-Nadal rivalry is an indication it is less important than it used to be to have American stars.
McEnroe agreed, to a point. "We have seen some incredible matches in this rivalry, including the greatest Wimbledon final ever played [in 2008]," he said, "But of course, it's nice now and then to have an American involved."
He praised Andy Roddick's recent play, but said the big question is "where the other guys are." And gals.
"Serena and Venus are not going to be around forever," he said. "We have to focus on how we'll find our next players."