Wimbledon 2015: John McEnroe calls on organisers to silence court mikes

If the former champion was ever given the chance to run tennis, it would be a very different sport

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The Independent Online

It is doubtful whether his employers over the next fortnight at the BBC would agree, but John McEnroe believes the use of on-court microphones is unfair on players, whose bad language can be broadcast worldwide.

“The players need to be able to feel that they can express themselves,” McEnroe said. “In other sports, you’re protected more. I’m sure on the soccer or rugby pitch, the [players] aren’t saying, ‘Hello, how are you?’ We have it in American sports too, but you don’t really hear it.

“Is it really different in tennis? Should it be treated differently? Do the mikes have to be there as high as they are? We hear this virtually every match, ‘We’d like to apologise for Mr Murray’s comments, he may have said something…’

“I got fined. They would go back and listen to my matches and two days later I’d be fined because no one heard it while it was being played, but they heard it on some mike behind the court. Is that the way it should be? I don’t think so.”

If McEnroe was ever given the chance to run tennis, it would be a very different sport. He would also abolish warm-ups before matches, play through lets on serve, always have tie-breaks in fifth sets, put opponents in separate dressing rooms and have no line judges, with players calling their own lines.

“The warm-up is boring,” McEnroe said. “I would do it more like boxing. I don’t think they need to hit balls before they play. They are so finely tuned.

“I think they should play through lets on serve. I know it would add an element of unpredictability which, by the way, I think would be good. It would speed up the match and be one less thing to worry about.

“I would put tie-breakers in the fifth set, no question. I’ve actually thought of the possibility of a tie-breaker at 3-3 in the fifth set.”

Wimbledon 2015 is exclusively live on the BBC across TV, radio and online from Monday