McEnroe Bows Out a Winner

December 08, 1992

Congratulations to the U.S. Davis Cup team for bringing the cup back from France by beating the Swiss team in the finals last weekend. (Congratulations, too, to the gallant Swiss, for getting to the finals and doing so well with a two-man team.) Non-playing captain Tom Gorman picked the right lineup for the U.S., and Jim Courier, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe all delivered -- the first two winning singles matches, the second two winning the doubles match.

Jim Courier and Pete Sampras especially had a lot to prove, having done so poorly in Davis Cup play in the past. Since they and Andre Agassi are all in their very early twenties, it is easy to agree with Jim Courier, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, when he says, "Hopefully we'll win this thing for the next eight or nine years."

Presumably they'll have to do it without John McEnroe, 33, on the court. He has hinted strongly that he won't play in big events after this year. He will be missed. He has always been a patriot when it came to playing Davis Cup. Not every great American player has been so faithful, when it was a case of costing them money or otherwise inconveniencing them. Also unlike some other players, John McEnroe has been willing to forgo big paydays in South Africa, responding to Arthur Ashe's appeal for a boycott there.

He has not only been available for Davis Cup play, he has been a consistent winner. He has won more matches than any American ever. He led the team to three victories when he was younger, and he has contributed as a doubles player in recent years. He probably has been the best doubles player in history, and is still one of the very best: He won the doubles championship at Wimbledon this year and got to the semi-finals at the U.S. Open.

Andre Agassi is urging the U.S. Tennis Association to name John McEnroe non-playing captain for next year's Davis Cup challenge. He would probably be a good one, but so has Tom Gorman been a good one. We wouldn't care to get into the dispute, if both men seek the position. We just want to say that in our view there has always been more to John McEnroe than his often dismaying on-court behavior and lack of sportsmanship, and if this year's Davis Cup was his finale, he deserves a fond, flag-waving farewell.

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