United States of America
Manhasset, NY, United States
July 1, 1966
Right-handed, Two-handed backhand
Most famous players can name a predecessor who was influential in their career as a professional. Few, however, had such ready access to a role model as Patrick McEnroe.
“The whole event (Laver Cup 2017) was one of the most memorable experiences of my tennis life. To see Borg and my brother out there, bringing what made them great as legends to the court. Borg very calm and stoic, John very fiery. Both with their different personalities. It was a perfect storm.”
Inspired by brother John, seven years older, the younger McEnroe picked up a racket aged three and played his first tournament at age six. Just like his big brother, Patrick honed his game at the Port Washington Tennis Academy in New York. When Patrick made his earliest steps towards a pro career, his first milestone came alongside John as a doubles champion at Richmond, Virginia, in 1984.
However, Patrick would forge his own path. An outstanding junior, winner of the French Open boys’ doubles title with countryman Luke Jensen in 1985, the younger McEnroe chose to commit to the college tennis route. A political science graduate at Stanford University, Patrick helped his college team capture the coveted NCAA title in 1986 by winning three of four singles matches and another two in doubles. Stanford retained the team title in his senior year of 1988.
The following year, Patrick became a Grand Slam champion, combining with Jim Grabb to win the doubles at Roland Garros.
In contrast to his brother, Patrick showed a calm on-court demeanor, noting: “I’ve had a lot of exposure to the spotlight since I was a kid … it’s more beneficial to me outside of tennis and inside of tennis to be composed. I don’t need extra attention. I’m calm most of the time.”
“There’s some good young talent out there from all over the world. Europe is always going to be loaded, but… we’ve got a hell of a chance to pull it off.”
Still, there was no doubt that John had been an important influence.
“He supported me from when I first started and I was really struggling and wondering myself, ‘hey, can I make it in pro tennis?’ and he was always kind of my biggest support saying, ‘you can make it’,” Patrick said.
In 2000, Patrick took over from John as the US Davis Cup captain and his 10-year run in that position remains the longest in US team history.
“I’m familiar with Chicago, it has a great sports tradition and amazing fans. There’s no doubt Chicago needs a tennis event and the Laver Cup is the perfect one for the city.”
The high point came in 2007, when the USA defeated Russia in the final to claim a 32nd Davis Cup title, and the first since 1995. McEnroe was hailed for this role as a leader, with his early focus on developing younger players including Andy Roddick – the winner of every rubber he contested that year – a key to the American victory.
Patrick, who led player development for the United States Tennis Association for several years, is now co-director of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York and a commentator.
The number of times the McEnroe brothers faced-off in a tour-level singles final. John won the final title of his professional career with a 3-6 6-2 6-4 victory over Patrick in Chicago in 1991.