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Patrick McEnroe Talks College Tennis

Patrick McEnroe knows he's best known as the younger brother of John McEnroe, but he has something big brother doesn't have - a college degree.

Patrick McEnroe is a college tennis proponent and fan
courtesy, Rick Limpert
McEnroe won one singles title and 16 doubles titles, including the 1989 French Open Men's Doubles on the ATP World Tour. His career-high rankings were No. 28 in singles (1995) and No. 3 in doubles (1993). After retiring from the tour in 1998, Patrick had a successful run as U.S. Davis Cup captain, the longest-tenured captain in U.S. history, winning the cup in 2007. After leaving his Davis Cup role in 2010, McEnroe focused on his television commentary work, and he also served as the General Manager of Player Development for the USTA until mid-2015. Patrick joined his brother's academy, the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, in early 2017.

McEnroe helped Stanford University, as team captain, win the NCAA team championship in 1986 and 1988. He graduated from Stanford in 1988 with a degree in political science.

"I absolutely follow college tennis," beamed McEnroe on a recent visit to Atlanta, promoting the 2017 BB&T Atlanta Open and the upcoming summer U.S. Open Series.

Patrick talked about college tennis leading up to the 2017 NCAA DI Championships in Athens, Ga.


Questions and Answers

Rick Limpert (RL): Patrick, for a while it seemed like you were the only player on the ATP World Tour with a 4-year college diploma on your wall.

Patrick McEnroe (PM): That was somewhat true. It's amazing; I did get one at Stanford. There was a guy, Paul Haarhuis, from The Netherlands that played in junior college and then at Florida State. He had a great career and a college degree. There weren't many. There were a few that went to college, but they left early - before earning a degree.


RL: There are a few more now ...

McEnroe was one of few pro tennis players with a college degree
courtesy, Rick Limpert
PM: In the last 20 years, there were fewer and fewer; but it's good to see today that two of our top Americans in John Isner and Steve Johnson have had amazing college careers. Now there are some other players starting to come through, and let's be honest, it's getting tougher to make it on the pro tour, especially in the teenage years.

It's great these players have the "college arena" to develop in a team atmosphere with great coaches, great facilities and excellent competition.


RL: Are players realizing that it's tougher and tougher out on tour?

PM: On the pro tour, you are out there on your own. You could be out there at 16, paying your own bills, unless you are lucky enough to have a sponsor or a federation. It's a different type of education out there, but sometimes that is better.

American players have a choice. Look at Jack Sock; he's now very successful, and he could've gone to college. If you can make that case where you are already successful and are going to make a lot of money, it's a good call to go pro. It's an individual decision. If you aren't a "lock" to make it in the pros, college is the way to go.

Also, the level of college tennis is coming back, and it's stronger. These college players, if they progress, play some pro events, and don't start from scratch, they can be professional players.

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Page updated on Monday, November 04, 2019
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