Tennis great John McEnroe, NBC’s lead analyst at Wimbledon, thinks the sport would benefit from eliminating pre-match warm-ups and letting the first ball hit be the first serve. Speaking to Michael Hiestand of USA Today, McEnroe said, “Some people might knock it having no warm-ups. But there’s more at stake in boxing – people’s lives are on the line – and you don’t see them jabbing each other a little bit before the fight.”
Maybe because punching people causes damage to both parties, whereas hitting a tennis ball back and forth tends to be less bloody. Really, it’s hard to see how eliminating warm-ups would benefit tennis at all. Would the tension be higher? I guess. But the first time a player pulls a hamstring, commentators would be bemoaning the absence of suitable warm-ups. It’s commendable that McEnroe wants to find ways to increase the popularity of his sport, but looking to boxing for inspiration seems like a non-starter.