John McEnroe, who wants the chance to help Britain's
Andrew Murray break into the tennis big time, will get first hand
experience of the 17-year-old's talent at the Superset Tennis
tournament at Wembley Arena on Sunday.
McEnroe was due to face British No1 Tim Henman,
but a nagging back injury has forced the world No4 to drop out
- allowing the US Open Boys champion Murray to continue his remarkable
tennis rollercoaster ride by facing one of the all-time greats
in a one-day, single-set tournament that features a first prize
While McEnroe won £7.3million during his
career, Murray's career has so far netted him just £7,317.
McEnroe watched Murray emerge as the best junior player in the
world at the US Open tournament earlier this month and is eager
to get to grips with the Scottish youngster's game on court.
McEnroe said: "I have heard about Andrew
Murray for a couple of years and got to see him play in the last
couple of months. He has a lot of talent. Now I have the chance
to play against him and see what he's got at first hand."
The American tennis superstar, still one of the
biggest names in the sport, has been disappointed at the lack
of contact with the Lawn Tennis Association, who have previously
used the former Wimbledon champion to raise the profile of tennis
in this country. Until Henman dropped out, McEnroe was not scheduled
to link up with Murray.
Now he will be able to sit down and talk to Murray
about what the future holds for the teenager. McEnroe would welcome
a call from the LTA asking him over to Britain to work with Murray
and the other young players coming through the British system.
But he is not expecting one.
He said: "To be quite honest I would like
to do more, but I have heard nothing and that's been disappointing.
So far it's been a case of being a figurehead. However, I am open
to discussions. "Because of my commitments - I play a seniors
event later in the week - it's not possible while I am here for
"It needs to be done more than a couple
a days before an event. It's not going to happen but, potentially,
this would have been a good time, particularly after Andrew's
success at the US Open.
"There has to be more communicationand effort.
I know that David Felgatehas got his things in place now and things
are going in the right direction. Hopefully, I can work with these
promising kids." McEnroe, whose career brought him seven
Grand Slam titles, is still a keen competitor on the seniors tour
and believes that at 45 years old he can still be a handful over
one set against the present stars. "I can give anyone on
the men's tour a run for his money for a set or two and it's going
to be interesting to see how I perform against Andrew.
"I am not in condition to play the best
of five with them and if I get a bit lucky then the set could
be over in a heartbeat. "I have a tough enough time on the
seniors tour with Boris Becker and now Jim Courier and Richard
Krajiceck to deal with and so trying to take on the current guys
is not something I would aim to do - except using this format.
"However, Goran Ivanisevic hasn't played
much tennis and Greg Rusedski has that hand injury, so who knows?
"There is no reason why something cannot happen in one set."
Superset tennis uses television technology to
allow players to contest close line calls, gives players the chance
to talk to a coach at court-side during change overs and features
a serving contest to see who serves first. It is all designed
to try and take the game to a new level of accessibility and popularity.
That is why McEnroe, Rusedski, Becker, Robby
Ginepri, Tommy Robredo, Mario Ancic, Ivanisevic and Murray are
taking part at Wembley. The first session features all eight players
in four head-to-head sets. After a successful pilot in the US
last year, Superset organisers believe they have found a new way
of taking the game forward. "In today's society we need an
entertainment-rich, innovative, technologically enhanced product
to satisfy our desires."
"Superset will attract a new audience of
younger people with busy lives looking for a one hit, sudden death
showdown of top international tennis. "Research shows tennis
needs a new approach, so don't be surprised if by 2005 we have
a Superset World Series. Where else can tennis fans see so many
top players in a single day?"
* The winner of match 1 plays the
winner of match 2, the match 3 winner plays the winner of match