Tom Dougherty | Advertiser
MANY will watch the form of Australian Open hopefuls this week, but John McEnroe is focused on a grudge match.
Appearing in Adelaide for the third time in the World Tennis Challenge at Memorial Drive, McEnroe is set on finally beating Australian Pat Rafter.
“We’ve had the opportunity to play here once and two other events, I’ve lost all of them” he said.
“For me it would be incredible if I could get at least one win.”
Going into the challenge as the defending champion, McEnroe will be teamed with former world No. 2 Tommy Haas, to go up against teams representing Australasia, Europe and the Internationals.
“I don’t play that many events, so every time I go out there now it means a lot more to me simply because you want to show you can play your bit,” he said.
“If I don’t go out there and give 100 per cent and give everything I have then I will really lay an egg.”
The 17-time Grand Slam winner said fans can expect his usual on-court antics and he is not afraid to cause a scene if he believes an umpire has made a mistake.
“If things aren’t going well, I do have a tendency to get a little grouchy and if things are going well then you are showing that I can still play a little bit,” he said.
He said he was disappointed he didn’t enjoy some of his past successes as much as he would have liked, with his temper taking over.
“I envy someone like Roger Federer who really loves being out there all the time when I was at times fighting myself,” he said.
McEnroe praised the World Tennis Challenge, in its fourth year, and said the unique format and great crowds makes the event fun for everyone.
“Everyone puts so much energy and effort into this event, it makes it pretty easy to come back,” he said.
“I’m feeling as good as I felt since the last Adelaide, so I’m looking forward to this.”
McEnroe’s partner, Haas, said he understands the American’s temper on the court.
“You have to respect your elders and respect the fact that he’s the defending champion here,” Haas said.
“I can relate to the certain situations and how he reacts, I’m also short-fused and sometimes go crazy.”
He said he will use the WTC to test his fitness ahead of the Australian Open next week.
“I’d just like to see on my own behalf how far I can still make it in the majors or other events,” he said.
“And I’ll just give it one last shot at seeing what I can do and then decide on my own terms when it is time for me to go on and do something else.”
The action kicks off at Memorial Drive tonight with gates open from 4pm and play beginning at 6.30pm.
Tickets for the event available from Ticketek (www.ticketek.com.au) start at $28.50 for adults, $12 for children or $85 for children are on sale now.