American John McEnroe ended Björn Borg's record run of victories at Wimbledon in 1981 and ended up in hot water with the All England Club for some temperamental outbursts. We, the viewing public, were delighted. "You CANNOT be serious!" we parroted and "The Ball was IN!"
The Sun, 6/7/1981:
Superbrat John McEnroe stormed out of Britain yesterday after an amazing final insult to Wimbledon's top officials.
He snubbed the traditional champions' dinner at London's Savoy Hotel... and went out celebrating his men's singles triumph with friends instead.
His absence angered All-England Club chiefs - and women's champion Chris Lloyd made a blistering attack on him when she spoke at the dinner.
She told the guests: "I have to make two speeches, one for myself and one for you know who.
"I do not have the vocabulary and as an American I wish to apologise for him."
McEnroe already faces fines of up to £7, 375 for his tantrums and bad language during Wimbledon fortnight - and his final insult could bring HIM a snub.
His non-appearance will be discussed by the All-England Club today and they may well decide not to grant him honorary membership which Wimbledon champions usually receive.
McEnroe is understood to have been angry because he could not get tickets to Saturday's dinner for friends - and decided to have a party of his own.
He was in a happier mood earlier when he phoned his blonde girlfriend Stacey Margolin in America.
She said: "He called me after the final and said 'I showed them'. I'm so delighted for him."
But McEnroe was Superbrat again at London's Heathrow Airport as he barged angrily past photographers on to a New York-bound Concorde.This article from the Daily Mirror, 17/11/1981, reveals that John was in the cart again...
... tennis spoilsport John McEnroe, fined £350 for his ill-mannered display at Wembley on Sunday, was flying home to New York feeling sorry for himself.
The 22-year-old Wimbledon champion said at Heathrow Airport: "I felt all alone on the court, as if everyone was against me.
"It gives you a reason not to want to return." But he added: "I'll be back for Wimbledon."
In more recent years, I've enjoyed listening to John commentating at Wimbledon. He has a sense of humour about his past, a keen eye for the tennis and is a welcome visitor to the All England Club.
I love to see him on the telly - I feel I've watched him grow from lad to man!