Showtime has announced the addition of McEnroe to their collection of sports documentaries. The film looks into the life of John McEnroe, one of tennis’ all-time greats who rose to world No. 1 for four years in a row. On June 10, the documentary received its global premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. The world champion is undoubtedly one of the most divisive tennis players in the sport’s history.
McEnroe traverses the streets of New York City over the course of a single night in the documentary, recreating his life in never-before-seen archive video. From his upbringing in Douglaston, N.Y., through a Wimbledon semifinals run as an 18-year-old qualifier, to winning the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships in his lone year at Stanford University.
The documentary also goes into his Hall of Fame professional career, during which he won seven Grand Slam singles titles, and it covers everything both inside and outside the lines. Barney Douglas, the director, explains, “Everyone has an opinion on John McEnroe. In making this film I was interested in creating something intimate and unexpected. I had to get in his head and find out how he thinks. To reach as many people as possible, this film needed to tap into the universal themes of connection, purpose, and love. What develops feels deeply confessional at times, as if John is interrogating himself.”
Interviews with his nemesis Björn Borg, tennis legend Billie Jean King, doubles partner Peter Fleming, and rock artists Chrissie Hynde and Keith Richards are included in the film. McEnroe’s children and his wife, Patty Smyth, give a degree of intimacy that elevates the film from a sports biopic to a genuinely introspective experience. The film is produced by Sylver Entertainment, with Dogwoof producers Victoria Barrell, Paddy Kelly, and Anna Godas, and Simon Lazenby, Oli Harbottle, and Gary Swain serving as executive producers.
Watch the full trailer of McEnroe here: