McEnroe becomes Wimbledon 'guide'
Talk about poacher turned gamekeeper. John McEnroe was often the scourge of Wimbledon as a player, but when the All England Club opened its new museum yesterday there was no doubting the star attraction.
One of the exhibits is a recreation of the men's locker room in the 1980s and the man chosen to act as the visitors' guide is old Superbrat himself. Through a combination of video technology and a mirror system first used in Victorian theatres, McEnroe appears "live" in the changing room and gives his thoughts on the changing face of the game and the qualities of the men who have dominated the modern era.
When McEnroe won his first Wimbledon in 1981 the All England Club withheld his traditional membership for a year following his on-court tantrums, including his "pits of the world" tirade.
The irony of the New Yorker now welcoming visitors to the club is not lost on the man himself, particularly when he introduces a film clip in which he reminds Andre Agassi to bow to the royal box as the two men leave Centre Court. "Imagine that," McEnroe says. "Me teaching manners to the next generation."
Situated in a new building alongside the Wimbledon shop, the new museum combines items from the old premises with use of the latest technology.
"The Science of Tennis" offersa real feeling of what it is like to play on Centre Court. A 200-degrees camera with five lenses filmed a match between Maria Sharapova and Nuria Llagostera at last year's championships. Using techniques pioneered by films like The Matrix, the action is frozen to enable viewers to see it in 3-D.
The museum is open throughout the year from 10.30am to 5pm. Admission is £4.75 for children and £7.50 for adults.
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