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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  1,549 ratings  ·  121 reviews

SERIOUS chronicles the astonishing story of the tennis star whose stardom transcended tennis: the outsider status that made McEnroe friends with Keith Richards and Jack Nicholson; his stormy marriage to Tatum O'Neal; his forays into the worlds of art and rock music; and his arrival as one of the most astute sports commentators around.

John McEnroe can be serious. He can al

Paperback, 346 pages
Published December 1st 2003 (first published 2002)
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Holly Cline
Let's just say this is worth the read if you like tennis and/or John McEnroe. If not, it probably won't hold your interest. I appreciated that James Kaplan let John's voice shine through. Some of the extra exclamation points and short phrasing may not be very sophisticated as a writing style, but it sounds like John. So many autobiographies of celebrities lose that in trying to clean up the writing.

This book doesn't delve super deep into John's personal life. It's not some tell all, but I don't
Mikey B.
The McEnroe-Borg-Connors years were the apex of tennis viewing. These three very different individuals brought tennis to a much larger viewing audience. Their games and rivalries have – in my opinion – never been matched since. Men’s tennis has become too power-serve oriented – at least Women’s tennis has more rallies and somehow the shorter games can make for an interesting match.

As you would expect from a super-star and a number-one ranked player, Mr. McEnroe comes off as very self-centred – t
Paul Pessolano
“You Cannot Be Serious” by John McEnroe with James Kaplan, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Category – Autobiography Publication Date – June 10, 2002.

John McEnroe can arguably be considered the best tennis player of all time. He is also considered the bad boy of tennis for his considerable outbursts on the court. Say what you will but the sport of tennis has missed him and will never be the same without him. McEnroe dominated the tennis courts throughout the 1980’s. During this time he was able t
Sean Peters
Maybe I am a little bias in my opinion of McEnroe, as I have met him twice at Wimbledon, and he is Not a nice person, well unless their are cameras on him !

His book although interesting from a tennis point of view, showed to me he is not a sincere person.

Found the book a little hard work.
Giles Knight
John McEnroe's serious starts on what has to be a very serious note indeed; in his Central Park New York apartment during 9-11 and I found I was thus gripped from the start.

You might imagine that a book on the life of a professional sportsman which starts in such fashion may be more a human story than the story of the sport and you'd be right.

McEnroe writes about his childhood and his father moving between jobs and succeeding in the American dream. He talks about early tennis clubs and early com
Johnny Mac!
Sort of... Not really. No, I take it back. Totally.
Either he`s a very persuasive man or his ghost writer is great. I`m going to look that up right now.
And I`m back and now that I`ve read about James Kaplan I feel vindicated.
I want to believe Mac wrote any of this book but what I think happened was he probably just spoke and Kaplan made it happen.
I love tennis and this book is as good as Agassi`s but I like Agassi more and I remember him. He was my era so I just dig him more.
However, M
As a lifelong fan of tennis I was looking forward to this book very much. While it was interesting to hear Mr. McEnroe's story in his own words, I felt like he was VERY selective with regard to what he chose to discuss. He was so brutally honest about all matters tennis and yet offered very little about his personal life. His marriage to Tatum O'Neal was barely even mentioned, which is surprising considering that they had 3 children together. I believe that if you are going to write an autobiogr ...more
I enjoyed this book very much. It gives great insights into the world of the tennis professional showing that the mental game is nearly more important than the stroke play.
I had just read Open, Agassi's biography, and Serious is not nearly as well written but then does sound authentically John McEnroe.
I appreciated that he didn't feel the need to fill the book with expletives. He was successful in giving the gist of his outbursts without having to litter the page with swear words.
I feel he re
interesting to read that his father once walked onto the court and asked the umpire to disqualify his son for bad behaviour
I love me some Johnny Mac but this book was unreadable.
Jean Book Worm
This book really kept me captivated and focused because of Mcenroe's honesty. He really gives out a lot of information of incidents in his life and it really makes you realize the kind of person he actually is. Hot tempered, stubborn and ambitious were three words that described him.
Personally, I never was a big fan of Mcenroe due to his attitude I've seen on television. However, I got an insight to his life and came to an understanding for his life.

Plot's Rating: 4/5
His life as a child was no
In his new role as TV commentator (and in his short-lived run as Davis Cup captain) McEnroe has tried to make the unlikely switch from tennis enfant terrible to tennis elder statesman. Judging by the welcome he has received from both the cognoscenti and the American public, it has been a largely successful transition.

This memoir of growing up (or not growing up) on the men's tour tracks the same course. Unfortunately, when shifted to the page, the reinvention produces a much more muddled result.
Chris Salisbury
This book is an autobiography about one of the best tenis players of all time, John macenroe. This book surprised me with it's honesty. Like many biographies, I am astounded at the detail with which people can look back and remember their lives. This one was education about the history of tennis in my lifetime, and it involves tennis players I was familiar with in the 70s and 80s.Also in this book Macenroe talks a lot about his truobles and his anger issues on the court. I loved when he talked a ...more
Sandra Danby
I’ve always had mixed feelings about John McEnroe. He’s a real Marmite personality for me, love him, hate him. I love his tennis, I hate his teenage antics, his arrogance, his language. But as he has matured, he’s grown on me. I’ve been lucky enough to see him play both as a youngster [queuing up as a student in the late ‘70s in those long lines outside the AELTC in Wimbledon at dawn] and in recent years as a senior on the Champions Tour, playing in the beautiful surroundings of the Royal Albert ...more
Paul Darcy
by John McEnroe with James Kaplan, published in 2002.

This autobiography of John McEnroe is titled after one of his famous outbursts on the tennis court. And yes, if you didn’t already know John was one of the all time best tennis players ever in the early eighties.

I’ve read where other reviews of this book which say he skims the surface of his life, never really digging deep down to reveal himself. I think I disagree with that. I mean how much do you really want to know?

He gives plenty of insigh
This is the autobiography of John McEnroe, the tennis superstar of the late 1970s and early 1980s. McEnroe was the sublime, unorthodox genius with his tennis racket. He was also the most artistic player I have ever watched play the game to be at no.1. There are many other artistic players of the game but they hardly even get into the top 10. But McEnroe had no weaknesses in his game and had a fierce will to win and he made it to the top without losing any of his artistry along the way. That is w ...more
Serious, by John McEnroe, was one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. Throughout my days, I have read many autobiographies; however, none of the books revealed as many as details as Serious. John McEnroe starts the book with himself dropping off his children to school in New York. Then, he has a flashback that goes in a very clear, chronological order. The flashback begins with his childhood and how he grew up around tennis in his life. Playing at a young age in the city of Queens, New ...more
Dawn Buffham-Bates
Having been born the year Mr McEnroe hit the tennis scene, I vaguely remember his outbursts on court being repeated in the playground at school. I love tennis, watching it that is not playing it; well not seriously anyway!

Reading Mr McEnroe's auto biography about his rise to fame and fortune, having grown up in the district of Queens, near to Flushing Meadows, a great place to be for a head start in the world of tennis. Throughout the book McEnroe talks mostly about his tennis, and you begin to
Lucy Montgomery
I am working through a number of tennis autobiographies and found John McEnroe's You Cannot Be Serious one of the most entertaining. I always liked him as a player and believe he is by far the best TV tennis commentator.
His book is like a long conversation -- fairly succinct and introspective, but without any instances of TMI (unlike some other player books). The reader can certainly hear McEnroe's voice, with both the ego and self-deprication. He acknowledges his failings and regrets but witho
David Kopec
Honest and Entertaining

The greatest asset of Mr. McEnroe's autobiography is the author's (sometimes brutal) honesty regarding both himself and the characters/events surrounding his rise to fame. Sure, it is clear at times that McEnroe is concealing some juicy details about his personal life, but it is not fair to expect admissions about everything! What McEnroe does share proves to be very revealing about both the pro-tennis tour and his celebrity lifestyle.

Ultimately this book will appeal to fa
♥ Marlene♥
September 17.
Just finished it and I really enjoyed reading about all the tennis players back in the days. I was always rooting for McEnroe while my mom wanted Borg to win.
Never was a fan of Ivan Lendl. Interesting read. He is not as mean about Tatum as she was about him in her book.
I do think reading this what a miserable sod is this guy. He appears to be never happy. Not when he won, not when he was married. I wanted to read more about his life with Tatum, about his own drug use, and hers!. It
John McEnroe's autobiography is an entertaining and insightful look into the life of one of the most greatest tennis players of all time. I don't know much about tennis, so I probably did not fully appreciate all of the descriptions of his matches and the struggle he had to get to and stay on top in such a competitive world. But I did appreciate how honest he was about what was going on inside his head and behind the scenes during the course of his career. There were times that I felt he was a b ...more
Conor O'mahony
Best autobiography I have read in yeas. I had thought McEnroe and Connors hated each other and that Borg and McEnroe had nothing in common off the court. I was wrong. Really interesting and honest account of tennis in the golden era before Federer, Nadal and Djokovic took it to the highest level.
I was pretty psyched to read about John McEnroe playing on some of the same tennis courts I played on in high school. But enough about that.

You either hate Johnny Mac or you love him. I'm in the love him camp. I've always enjoyed hearing what he has to say, even when I disagree with it. His book won't change any opinions on him, but it's a fun read if you're a fan. It's mostly behind the scenes stories through his life and career, but nothing too gossipy. He's fairly respectful of those involved
An easy read and an enjoyable one when you can remember a lot of what McEnroe is talking about. The Wimbledon finals with Borg, Britain in the eighties, what it is to be a hot headed American Superbrat! I wish he'd dished the dirt a bit more though - what was Vitas and Bjorn getting up to with their groupies, for instance? Saying that, his book was a bit more straighttalking than most - not many would call Madonna the most career driven women he'd ever met. He also comes across as quite a decent ...more
As an avid tennis fan and athlete, I could really understand the meanings of this book.John McEnroe is one of my my favorite tennis players of all times The book was highly interesting detailing each and every part of his life. The book started off with a great flashback all the way to McEnroe's early years. The book continued at the elderly years of his McEnroe's life. While the book taught valuable insight on McEnroe's thoughts and advice, it also taught me the history of tennis in the 1970's ...more
My favorite athlete of all-time is Bjorn Borg. Since he's never written an auto-biography, this is the closest I've come since McEnroe was his rival. I actually really enjoyed this book. A very honest book of a guy searching for something. The best line of the book was, "Here I was, the number one tennis player in the world and I couldn't figure out why I was so empty inside." McEnroe goes on to say later that organized religion is a sham and that if there is a God, then God must be dumb, blind ...more
Rena Sherwood
This went around the homeless community I lived in at Bath, UK. It sure helped take my mind off of being homeless! Thanks, McEnroe.
He sure was a brat. A bit dated with hardly any surprises. But an interesting read for any tennis fan who watched the Borg-McEnroe matches.
Everyone knows John McEnroe as the bad boy of tennis in the late 1970s and 1980s. After his 1992 retirement, he managed to reinvent himself as a respected television commentator, talk show host, and self-deprecating commercial pitchman. His autobiography, named after a phrase contained in his most famous rant at Wimbledon, runs the gamut of all things "Super Brat". His rivalries with Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and Bjorn Borg, his tumultuous marriage to Tatum O'Neal, and his life since leaving co ...more
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Intriguing idea. 1 2 May 13, 2013 01:51AM  
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John McEnroe is a American former world professional tennis player. He grew up in Queens, NY and began playing tennis at age 8. McEnroe is often rated as the greatest in the sport. He is also well known for his on court behavior that got him in trouble with tennis authorities and umpires.

McEnroe is also an expert tennis commentator and occasionally makes guests appearances in TV shows. He was marr
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“when you’re young, you feel invulnerable. I don’t feel invulnerable anymore.” 1 likes
“The Open era had brought personalities into the game, and personality was generating media exposure, which was generating more money, which in turn guaranteed more media exposure - which in turn drove in even more money. Where money and publicity meet, there’s always excitement, but good behavior is rarely a part of the mix. Manners are the operating rules of more stable systems.” 1 likes
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