During a teleconference call Thursday to promote his July 14 World Team Tennis Match against longtime rival Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe said tennis could benefit from the type of Hard Knocks treatment that HBO has used to give fans an inside look at the training camps of NFL teams like the New York Jets.
“We need [intense] marketing to boost interest among casual fans,” McEnroe said. “We need a Hard Knocks for tennis. We need people to see inside [the sport]. to really see what players say and do.”
No doubt this template could be extremely popular — if the tennis players being covered were Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic or Caroline Wozniacki. But watching men hit hundreds of balls in practice, or traveling solo around the world with occasional interactions with their coaches and families? Hard to see how that’d be compelling theater. If the subject were McEnroe back his hey day, screaming at umpires and winning titles, it’d be a different story. But no men’s player nowadays holds that kind of personal interest for casual fans. Well, maybe Andy Rodddick, but a Hard Knocks production would probably need to include large doses of supermodel Brooklyn Decker, his wife, to keep people’s attention.