John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018) Movie Script

You look at the images
of this lm and you ask yourself...
where does this go
on your scale of lm knowledge?
And yet,
just like a romantic comedy or war lm,
an instructional lm is part and parcel
of cinema history.
Just like the two other genres,
instructional lms
used to suffer from rigid ideas
on how they were to be produced
and tight limits on the actors.
A Study of the Basic Techniques of Tennis
was produced in 1966 by Gil de Kermadec,
rst national technical director
of tennis,
who, over time, wasnt really convinced
that the lm was that relevant.
Incredible, huh?
Gil was also astonished
that he had to organize
these demonstrations
before matches at Roland Garros.
Famous players would come on court,
in front of the spectators,
and take up xed positions,
and were told not to move.
Players who are doing demonstrations
always think they are making the movements
that they make in a match.
But, actually, lm has the power
to show how impossible that is.
Armed with this knowledge,
Gil de Kermadec asked in 1969
for the camera lenses to be turned
on the Roland Garros tournament
and the reality of playing.
The thrust of his lms
are about competition
and soon lead to a new level of awareness:
No, the French way of teaching tennis
is not at all universal,
nor applicable to everybody.
From 1977,
de Kermadec begins to use
the technique of the portrait.
He becomes more concerned
with what makes each player unique,
and after that,
he starts to analyze the type of tennis
which he or she can produce.
the last work from this highly original
series of instructional portraits
is dedicated to the American John McEnroe,
world number one for four years.
J To the extent that I wear skirts J
J And cheap nylon slips J
J Ive gone native J
J I wanted to know
The exact dimensions of hell J
J Are you for sale? J
J Fuck you J
J Does Fuck you sound simple enough? J
J That was the only part
That turned me on J
J But he was candy all over J
J Come on down to the store J
J You can buy some more
And more and more and more J
the feet are parallel to the baseline.
As soon as the movement begins,
an astonishing rotation
of the arm and forearm
turns the racket through more than
180 degrees on its longitudinal axis.
In the armed position, knees are bent
and the shoulder and arm line
is nearly vertical.
Relaxing the knees
and shifting the shoulders
helps increase the speed of the racket
as it begins to go down the players back.
The undulation travels like a whipcrack
until the ball is hit,
with the arm not fully extended
nor the handle aligned with the forearm,
unlike most great servers.
The shoulders are not yet facing again
when the ball is hit.
The efciency comes not only from
the speed with which the ball is hit
nor the speed or variety of placing,
but also from its unpredictable nature.
McEnroes movement doesnt let
opponents guess where the ball will go.
Whats more,
his speed in coming up close to the net
gives him angles to play with,
without even having to volley.
In 2011,
my friend Nicolas Thibault
was coming to the end
of making a lm about Gil de Kermadec.
This tennis player-lmmaker
had spent his entire life
watching the development
of the best players in the world
on the clay courts of Porte dAuteuil
like others would follow the development
of emperor penguins in the Antarctic.
Nicolas wanted to make room in his lm
for Gil among the archives
and asks me to take him there.
Dazed as if we were standing in front
of an installation by Christian Boltanski,
we are confronted
by a heap of metallic boxes,
each of which contained
fragments from his life.
Watching Gil lovingly scan
these images from the distant past,
I imagined him navigating
back into a strange otherworld of worries.
Our inventory continued,
and I am stunned to nd that there was
so much material on John McEnroe.
The rushes are
more than 20 times the nal length
of the lm that Gil had made about him.
I spent several months editing together
hundreds of little reels
that had been scattered all around.
If the wastebins from yesteryear
quite often provide the treasures
in todays archaeology museums,
then I had the feeling
that these bits and pieces
could yield something precious,
something that could reveal
some forgotten truth
to whoever would be willing to listen.
Viewing these rushes,
l was rapidly struck by the camera
movements, the clapper board...
l was struck by a feeling of immersion,
an incredible sensation of immediacy.
We were not in the process
of watching John McEnroe,
nor a lm about John McEnroe.
We were actually the cameramen
on the set of a lm
which was in the process of being made.
If you two cant hear that,
there must be something wrong.
Theres something very wrong if you cant
hear a ball two inches in front of you.
No, no, perhaps--
Perhaps Im 20 times better see and
20 times better hear than youll ever be.
What the hell are you? Who are you?
Picked your name out of a hat.
80 we were waiting, well, l was waiting...
for the signal to come through--
for the game to be over
and the players sitting down--
so the spectators would be moving.
So we were...
I was always a bit tense because it was...
its the closest spot,
closest to the court,
closest to the players.
So we moved fonrvard...
Perhaps its the easiest point
of the match, you know?
Ever think of that?
- I set up my tripod.
- Time.
| always filmed with a tripod, trying...
not to get in the way.
To be at the right height.
There Im on the flowers,
which are just in front of me.
And we were surrounded by photographers...
who also had big cameras
with long focal lenses.
Heres Nicolas,
collaborator and Gils friend.
- Let!
I think thats also what...
what you look for...
when youre filming.
The sort of ideal spot.
With no tricks, no big movements...
you describe a presence,
an action, a movement.
Thats the spot, I think,
at Roland Garros.
Of course you dont see...
you dont see both players.
You dont see the match.
You dont see the rallies.
You just see one player.
Indeed, it seems
hes playing against himself.
You see the strength in tennis.
Lets relive the sequences
which are shot in three-quarters prole.
Were not really spectators.
Were invited to discover,
with a certain empathy,
what is actually needed
to win a point in a tennis match.
- Oh!
Game, McEnroe. Two games all, first set.
Of course, were frequently
shown this shot in three-quarters prole
in the lm
Roland Garros 1985 with John McEnroe.
In the range
of shots played beyond the baseline,
his strong point is never violence,
but variety.
His elastic defense
is only ever temporary,
always watching for a short enough ball
to give his best game.
-Come on, come on!
This desire to vary rate
and effects in baseline exchanges...
is particularly visible at backhand
where slices and lifts alternate
almost systematically,
though the play situations
may not be any different.
This mix shows the attention
he gives to each shot
without ever taking the easy route
of a stereotypical movement.
That is probably one of the ways
he makes his opponents feel insecure.
As tennis began
to be broadcast more and more
and Roland Garros was seen worldwide,
with ever costlier television rights,
our little spot for filming those shots
for Gils films
got smaller and smaller.
At one point,
the Federation even made him this offer:
French television has 20 cameras
around the courts.
The Americans too.
Just use those pictures.
The television companies
will give them to you, just use them.
He was beside himself.
He said, They dont understand
I dont do the same job.
They dont understand what Im doing.
Im making a film.
That made him really furious.
What he wanted was very precise.
I think he was more interested
in the players than the match.
It bore no relation
to live television coverage.
And indeed, I dont believe
Gil watched tennis on television at all.
He wasnt interested.
Sober and varied,
applied and imaginative:
People were bound to like McEnroe 8 game.
And the better placed the ball,
the more efciently he hit it.
Drop shots were one of his major weapons.
Forehand, when his movement
gave away his intention,
it was already too late.
His attack position
suggested something quite different.
Backhand, the surprise was
if anything even more total,
since it was entirely unpredictable.
Gil de Kermadec
was fascinated by slow motion,
by how movement is broken down.
He was fascinated by everything that
allows you to see what the eyes cant see.
You ask yourself
while watching a horror lm,
Where do these phantoms
and hordes of ghosts come from?
Thats before you realize
that its unwise to build your house
on an old burial ground.
A cemetery of a kind lies hidden
underneath the red clay
of the Roland Garros Stadium.
Its called the Station physiologique
du Parc des Princes,
and it is where Etienne-Jules Marey
and Georges Demeny'
took their chronophotographic pictures.
In other words,
what the eyes could not see.
The specter of these rst forays
into capturing movement
haunts the lms of Gil de Kermadec.
And it is in these supernatural images,
created with the trick of slow motion,
that he paradoxically nds
a form of truth.
The ball is on the line.
Look at the mark.
Go and check. The mark is on the line.
Its in. No, the ball is in. Please.
Its my decision.
Lets play.
Using up to three cameras
to lm sequences that might not
even offer up any technical content,
the people who used to crave control
by placing footprints on the ground
were now like shermen.
They had no idea
what the days catch would bring.
- Let.
- Fault.
The lm critic Serge Daney used to say...
Its the advantage of clay.
Thats why I prefer this surface.
Its because it creates ction.
There are the players
and what they know they can do.
There are the fans, who also know
their role in the proceedings.
There are the officials, who are ready
to get into everyones bad books.
But more than all of that,
there is time--
The lm critic Serge Daney used to say...
Unlike football or rugby,
tennis is based on relative countdown.
The length of a match depends
on the ability of the players
to create the time that they need to win.
We count in points, games,
sets, and match.
The first point is called 15.
The second, 30. The third, 40.
And the fourth, game.
To win a game, you have to have at least
four points and a two-point lead.
The servers points
are always given rst.
When each player has won a point,
the announcer says...
Fifteen all.
If each player has scored
three points, it is called deuce.
40 all!
The player who next wins a point
has the advantage.
They may go back to deuce
by losing the next point
or win the game by winning it.
To win a set, you must win six games
and be two games ahead.
When the players reach a score
of six games each,
a seven-point decider is played,
called a tiebreak,
to finish the set.
To win a match, women must win two sets
and men must win three sets,
at least at Roland Garros.
When you watch a tennis match,
you dont really ever know
what youre watching.
The intrigue which pitted Jarkko Nieminen
against Bernard Tomic in Miami
was resolved in 28 minutes and 20 seconds,
about the same time as an episode
from the series Hitchcock Presents.
Equally, you would have to watch
the three Godfather lms
with an hours break between each one
before you knew the winner
of the match at Wimbledon
between the American John Isner
and the Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.
So why did Serge Daney,
the editor-in-chief of Cahiers du cinma,
agree in the 803
to write an article about tennis
in the newspaper Liberation ?
What common denominator
between tennis and cinema
would be able
to get Daneys juices owing?
The length of time.
Cinema for me
isnt at all about being amazed
in front of a moving image.
Its more about the sounds you hear,
the sense of time,
the race against time and fate.
Its about telling stories
about countdowns.
Theres also the underlying question:
How much time is left
before the end credits?
In other words,
what possibilities are there
to create an extra bit of time?
Thats it.
In my opinion,
the thing that makes a great film
is the invention of time.
McEnroe is not a lmmaker,
but he excels in the area
of inventing time.
Thanks to his dexterity
on the tennis court,
it is he who dictates
and who, as the attacking force,
allows himself the right to say, Cut!
by coming to the net
and shortening the rally.
McEnroe was a master
of concluding rallies,
but he also loved being able
to decide how they begin.
He found it difcult when someone else
wanted to take charge of exchanges,
and he doesnt hesitate
to ask the technicians under his orders
for what reasons the lm of the match
has been interrupted.

It was a serve. There was no point.
No. So if theres a serve,
theres no point.
Because if you saw the ball out,
theres no point.
-Okay, then it was out.
The serve was out.
No, you said you saw the serve out.
-Theres no point then.
This serve.
-Why didnt anyone call it?
Why didnt anyone call it?
Okay, then its a second serve, right?
What? What-Whats the problem?
Its a second serve.
If the ball was out, the serve was out.
I dont understand.
Can you bring the referee out, please?
Oh, now you saw the ball in?
Can you show me the mark, please?
-Why not?
- Come on, Johnny!
Can he show me the mark?
Thats all I want to see.
I just want to see the mark.
Thats all Im asking.
-But Id like him to show me the mark.
-Mr. McEnroe, please.
Cant you show me the mark? Why not?

-Why cant you show me the mark?
Why cant you show me the mark?
Why cant you show me the mark?
Can you answer me the question?
Why cant you show me the mark?
But all Im asking is to see the mark.
Everybody in place?
15 all.
- Quiet, please.
Please. Shh.
When youre making a documentary
and your camera confronts real situations,
two possibilities come before you.
In the rst,
you try to make people believe
that the people you are lming are acting
exactly as they would in real life,
and that the presence of the camera
isnt changing anything.
In the second, you accept the fact
that the presence of your camera
alters how things really are...
...and that the subject of your documentary
goes through this change of reality.
The people with the cameras. Okay?
Have someone do something
before we play again.
The photographers will kindly leave.
Thank you.
Over here, over here.
They keep coming back.
They keep coming back.
Five games all, second set.
Come on, you jerk piece of crap.
You come out here--
Five games all, second set.
Come on, you jerk piece of crap.
You come out here--
I used to think,
Ill have a rest in the pit,
but you dont get any rest there.
In that hole,
youre careful about the balls,
youre a little bit afraid.
When we were shooting in 16-mm,
it was a place where we could
change our cassettes peacefully
in the changing bag, in the cool darkness.
It was less risky than outside.
The Arri SR made a lot of noise...
in that hole, that pit.
It was resonant, I felt a bit ashamed.
Hello? Yes?
It wasnt that easy,
actually you had to impose yourself.
But I did have a bit of difficulty
because sometimes
the photographers could see
that I had nothing to do with photography.
I used to get ahead of things
before the matches.
I set the equipment up,
[plugged it in and well,
there were no problems.
I dont know why, but it was especially
the microphones windscreen
which, I suppose, must have intrigued him.
There were often players
who would go after...
Not just him.
There were several players
that went after the crowd.
It was a nervous thing with them,
and that time it happened
that the windscreen intrigued him.
He asked the umpire,
who was just in front of me...
to put an end to the recording.
He replied
that it was out of the question,
I wasnt intruding on court,
and so there was no problem
that could make him forbid it.
And then he came back to it
two or three times,
then he blew up.
Keep that thing away from me,
you understand?
You see this? Your mouth.
Repeat that in French to the people, okay?
Youre gonna get it.
Can you-- Umpire? Can you ask
to keep this away from me, please?
That microphone?
I want it turned off, please.
-Ask him to turn it off.
-Theres nothing I can do about it.
-Why not?
-Because its perfectly--
Oh, okay. Yeah.
Its perf-- perfectly all right
that he sticks it in my face, right?
They tried to put a sound blimp
on the camera each time,
to cut the sound made by the reel spinning
at 120 images per second for slow motion.
They put on a sound blimp,
and sometimes over that
they put a coat or a jacket,
but the sound still came out.
Through the lens. So you heard--
...on the court,
as soon as it was switched on
to capture a movement.
A 16-mm Arriflex High Speed
going at 120 images/second
makes a noise.
since there is no noise
during tennis rallies--
you can imagine.
If spectators quickly realized
that McEnroe had an unusual style
and a rare feel for the game...
- Game, McEnroe.
...very few of them understood
that he was also
a man who played
on the edge of his senses.
His entire body was capable
of reacting to the slightest noise,
or the tiniest change of atmosphere.
- 40-0.
Im not in the Actors Studio.
Im a professional tennis player.
Oh, no!
30 all.
-Excuse me?
- You fucked my wife?
- 30 all.
-Excuse me?
You fucked my wife?
-Just tell me.
-Please play now.
-Tell me the score and Ill play.
-Youre very smart, Joey.
-The right score.
You give me all these answers,
but you aint giving me the right answer.
-30 all.
-Im asking you again.
-40-1 5.
-The ball was called out.
Did you or did you not?
Here, the lm crew
captured quite a rare sequence.
Its a bit like the owering
of the Puya raimondii,
or a comet passing near Earth.
It is John McEnroe on a practice court.
Of course, exercises and practice
are what hard workers have to do.
The talented dont really need
to do such things.
But I really think
that McEnroe did not like pretending.
He preferred to play
in the white heat of competition
rather than go through the motions
of a training session.
Throughout all his career,
McEnroe played
in the doubles at tournaments,
the true basis
of his physical preparation.
He often played
with his younger brother Patrick,
who we see here.
No, McEnroe didnt like pretending.
If he didnt like training sessions,
he liked photo sessions even less.
Look at how much he just loves
getting ready here.
John McEnroe didnt always know
how to play upon his image.
First he needed to understand,
and then accept, just like each of us,
one of the great misunderstandings
of our lives:
The image we have of ourselves
rarely ever tallies
with the image that others see.
So, okay.
All these ambiguities are sorted out.
The stars of the day
are on the tennis court.
The stars of the silver screen
arent in front of the cameras.
Theyre in the stands.
But while Im struggling
to destroy pretenses,
because I dont think McEnroe is an actor,
Ilearn that the actor Tom Hulce
prepared for his lm as Mozart in Amadeus
by watching McEnroe play.
Not on the stage,
but on the tennis courts.
Show me the mark.
Can you show me the mark, please?
Can you show me the mark, please?
Why not?
-Why cant he show me the mark?
-Because I saw
You cant see your own shoelaces.
How can you--
The ball is out.
-Wheres the mark?
What mark is that?
Come on.

-The ball is out.
He made up the mark.
He just made it up.
He just put his finger like this.
There was no mark.
Theres only a mark on the line.
He didnt-- There wasnt--
He couldnt find a mark.
-He never found a mark.
No, but he never found a mark.
It was right on the line.
No, no, it wasnt out though.
It was on the line. He said the ball was--
You saw it on the line
and you called it in.
You called the ball in.
You never sent anyone there.
You called it in.
How do you know thats the mark?
You didnt send a line--
But, no, you called the ball in. You did.
You didnt call it in?
How good is he, this Mozart?
-Hes remarkable.
-Hes an unprincipled, spoiled,
conceited brat.
Im a vulgar man.
But I assure you, my music is not.
J Hurt me, break me, kill me J
He is divinely inspired.
He is arrogant, vulgar, obscene.
He creates music for the gods.
- He is passionate.
- He burns with fire.
- He is an angel.
- He is a devil.
The codification, um,
of feelings on a sports ground
is pretty banal.
That is, they are positive feelings,
those of a fighting spirit.
But this player doesnt bring that,
he brings negative feelings.
And so, for some of the spectators,
um, it seems so out of line
with what we usually see
or expect to see on a sports ground,
that were-- and I think this explains
why we may even laugh sometimes--
we think its someone
who is absolutely not under control.
Someone who is completely out of line
with feelings that will let him win.
Except that in fact,
those arent pleasant moments for him,
but they were things
he managed to turn to his advantage.
And Im not sure the spectators
could necessarily be aware of it.
Because the spectators will go along
with feelings of joy,
combativeness, fury...
Feelings considered to be positive:
personal achievement, pushing your limits...
The idea of personal achievement
thanks to anger or rage,
when you have the impression
a sportsman is exploding inwardly,
we say, Hes got a problem,
he cant win like that.
Yes, he could!
Most other players or athletes,
if they give way to feelings of anger,
soon become violent,
and its very difficult to rev up...
and be in a storm of emotional agitation,
be filled with anger, rage,
and even violence,
and remain productive.
It is extremely difficult.
And coming back down again quickly
and remaining lucid
where strategy is concerned
is extremely hard.
Not only is it not exportable,
its more or less destined to fail
in most cases.
Logically, an efficient model
is feelings under control.
In McEnroes case,
it seems he can open the door
and let the lion out of the cage,
express himself, shout,
and remain efcient.
Logically impossible.
And Im able
to get involved in things like this
and to still be able to concentrate well,
which is something that not too many
other players seem to be able to do.
Thats what the players are afraid of,
because they know when you get angry,
youre not going to destroy your game,
whereas if they get angry, theyve had it.
Well, you know, thats something
that Ive practiced over the years.
Thats something
that Ive practiced over the years.
Thats something
that Ive practiced over the years.
Is there a rule against asking?
Whats the problem?
- Deuce.
I think things would be easier if people
realized that its me making a statement,
like, You do yourjob and Ill do mine,
rather than me just complaining
for the hell of it.
That hit the line.
He didnt even see a mark.
He asked the guy in the chair
if he saw a mark.
Hes not-- Theres--
Theres not one mark outside the line.
Theres not one mark wide.
It was right on the line.
So how can you call the ball out then?
He didnt even--
Just ask him if he even saw it.
Well, he couldnt find--
The mark was right on the line.
But he asked this guy in the chair
if he saw a mark.
So why dont-- I mean, the worst--
First of all, the ball was on the line.
The worst I get is a let.
-I mean, the ball was right on the line.
So when you are a perfectionist
and very demanding with yourself,
you tend to project
and expect others around you
to be just as invested as you.
So he feels a referee doesnt really know,
hes hesitant,
people are approximative,
amateurish, those that are around him,
including the referees
who are there to judge,
and that causes
almost uncontrollable rage.
How can I, who am so invested
and put in so much effort
and come here
with such a perfect performance,
be judged and deceived
by someone who just
isnt demanding enough himself,
not precise enough, not good enough?
That causes-- for McEnroe
and a certain number of athletes--
feelings of injustice and anger,
and for McEnroe they werent
necessarily under control.
- Allez, John!
- Come on, John!
...just complaining for the hell of it.
I think things would be easier if people
realized that its me making a statement,
like, You do yourjob and Ill do mine,
rather than me just complaining
for the hell of it.
I saw it was out.
Why doesnt he-- Show me the mark.
Theres no mark thats out.
Can you show the mark?
-There. No, its behind.
- The ball is out.
No, not you.
-No, no, no...
There. Its out.
John, its out.
Whats happening in that players head,
we cant get to it.
And, um, Its a match against himself.
Perfectionists dont only play
against others, or a chronometer.
A real perfectionist is someone who seeks
something along the lines
of a culmination of performance,
be it the moves made,
the quality, everything.
So theres a struggle against oneself
which is very much there too.
Emphasis is sometimes put on a point
that may seem anecdotal,
but it comes barging into his own story,
in the match against himself,
little approximations--
a referees approximations--
may lead him to lose control.
And its true that theoretically,
as part of mental preparation
in particular,
sports people are taught
to think about the manageable factors,
that is to say all the things
they can manage themselves on court,
and let go of those they cant
in order to stay in the present
in such a way as to have
stable intensity and concentration.
McEnroe does seem to be
into ultra-control.
He has to control everything,
and if anything escapes him,
he ies into a fury.
Game, McEnroe.
Take your glasses off.
Take your glasses off.
So what?
What does that mean?
You speak English?
Take your glasses off,
so you can see the ball, all right?
This? Take these off.
Serge Daney wrote about John McEnroe...
One thing interests him:
the eternal injustice
that aficts him and him alone.
A single passion motivates him:
to owe his victories only to himself,
to seize them from the rest of humanity,
and share them with no one else.
Bjdrn Borg puts the ball in the spot
where the other player is not.
McEnroe puts it in a place
the other player will never reach.
McEnroe only plays well
if he feels that everyone is against him.
Hostility is his drug.
The referees, the lines, the net,
the net cord judge, and the spectators
must all threaten him.
They must force him to win
while he keeps giving the impression
that his back is against the wall.
In truth, its a ruse.
He follows a golden rule
which is that he must never seem
to be happy with what hes doing.
there is a whole range of gestures,
from a shout of despair
to the pout of a child
bottling up his tears.
He can also throw in
that look of unending fury.
Is he a spoiled brat, impulsive,
orjust a bad seed?
Probably all of those things.
But my guess is something else.
All this acting and theater
of absurd self-destruction is a technique.
Its a ploy to transform this hostility
which he feels is bearing down on him
into wonderful tennis. Its sublime.
McEnroes art
is thus largely one of camouage.
But its also an art of sensitivity,
the right decision at the right moment.
So up to the net he goes,
after a lag time aimed
at weighing up if it is a good idea,
and also surprising his opponent.
This desire
to constantly muddy the waters,
to turn everything into a ght
between two peoples intelligence,
is no doubt the most original mark
John McEnroe will have left
on modern tennis.
Very often there are...
If you look at the very strong motors
behind fulllment and excelling oneself,
there are stories
that go back to childhood
and the family setting,
and what happened around issues of love
and attachment.
Does anyone love me? Will anyone love me?
Will I be admired, recognized?
Will I be valued within my family?
Or more rooted in fear: Will I lose?
Will people stop loving me if I lose,
it! perform less well?
Those are motors or brakes, or both.
Sometimes its very ambivalent,
with a big contrast between that fear,
which can create abnormal desire,
because playing high-level sport
is to my mind something abnormal,
psychically speaking,
an investment that isnt normal,
a relationship to suffering
that isnt normal,
to excelling oneself, to willpower,
the rage to always do better,
to go back over again
in order to face all sorts of tests...
It isnt normality.
So there are often things that have
happened, psychically, in childhood
which, too, arent normal
in the way theyre interpreted.
And from those sometimes contrasting,
violent feelings
is born a desire for fulfillment
or reparation
which expresses itself in top-class sport.
John McEnroe
always finds a way to win.
Vince Lombardi,
the late coach of the Green Bay Packers,
a master of motivation,
this is what he said:
Lifes battles dont always go
to the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
is the man who thinks he can.
John McEnroe always thinks he can win.
Vince Lombardi would have loved
John McEnroe.
Nice guys dont win in this game.
Well, there might be a few of em around,
but basically, its a sport for killers.
This is kill or be killed
for millions of dollars.
Nobody buries you if you lose.
They just forget you.
And thats what the fear is.
Its a competitive life where we all
have to fight for whatever we get:
living space, jobs.
And when we get em,
somebody else wants em.
And thats whats happening.
Thats what McEnroe is showing you
out on that tennis court.
I want it. Im grabbing it. Its mine!
Try and stop me.
Is he a reection of our times?
Is he violence personified
on the tennis court?
Yes, McEnroe does disturb us.
Hes a genius who worries people
because hes a reection
of the times we live in:
harsh, violent times.
We can see in him
what society has done to us.
In life, as in tennis today,
youre either a winner or a loser.
We live in a rewards system,
and John McEnroe is a pure product of it.
He is a winner.
Drama, noun.
Comes from the Latin drama,
which means theatrical performance.
McEnroe leads 1-love in the rst set.
Nothing must stand in his way
from taking control of his nal.
See that microphone underneath the court?
Thats it, underneath.
Turn it off.
After only 21 minutes,
the American has his rst break point.
3:52. McEnroe is in command.
The American leads 5-2.
Ivan Lendl tries to dig.
How can you overrule right now? There was
the serve, but you didnt overrule it.
I overruled. The ball is out.
Why do you do everything in his favor?
Are you afraid of him?
-Are you afraid of him?
-You are to play.
-Are you afraid of him?
So dont do everything in his favor, okay?
4:01. Set point for McEnroe.
McEnroe wins
the first set six games to three.
At the beginning of the second set,
McEnroe appears keen to press home
his brilliant start to the match.
Another break point to the American,
who is already 3-Iove up.
The match commentators are scrambling
to recall someone
who had ever played with such authority.
After only 29 minutes in the second set,
McEnroe has a set point.
- Fault.
- 40-30.
Turn that thing off.
God, you people really bug me.
Game and second set, McEnroe.
-Game, McEnroe.
One game all.
Shut up!
The spectators no longer support McEnroe,
who is trying to win
as quickly as possible
by coming to the net
at every possible opportunity.
Ivan Lendl manages to take a 3-2 lead
thanks to a slight lull
in the Americans game.
Back in a match
which had been one-way trafc,
the Czechoslovakian manages
to conjure up a set point.
Third set, Lendl.
It is time for McEnroe
to regroup in the nal.
After two hours and 24 minutes of play,
the American clearly doesnt want
a center-court marathon.
McEnroe is within sight of the crown,
leading 4-3 in the fourth set.
But Lendl gets a break point and takes it.
Lendl! Lendl!
Game, Lendl.
Four games all.
Four all, fourth set.
McEnroe gets a break point
on Lendls service.
6:33. Lendl leads Have in the fth set.
It is the rst time
in three hours and seven minutes of play
that he is ahead in the match.
Just a light watering, please.
Two all, fth set.
It is crucial not to lose their service.
Could you please confirm the mark?
Theres no mark where he just did it.
That was right on the line.
No, but he didnt--
No, but he didnt say--
There was no mark.
There was no mark where he did it.
No, but, Jacques, he didnt--
Theres no mark there!
Theres no mark where he did that.
You cant look?
Wheres the mark?
Wheres the mark?
Wheres the mark?
Can you ask him?
-Theres no mark.
- I see the mark.
Ivan Lendl. Game, McEnroe.
Ivan Lendl. Game, McEnroe.
Ivan Lendl...
Ivan, congratulations.
This is the first time
youve won the grand slam in Paris.
Its your first grand slam victory.
- Thats correct.
- Thats correct.
Cinema lies, not sport.
J Im about to have a nervous breakdown J
J My head really hurts J
J Ifl dont nd a way out of here J
I Im gonna go berserk cause J
J Im crazy and Im hurt J
J Head on my shoulders J
J Its going berserk J
J [hear the same old talk, talk, talk J
J The same old lines J
J Dont do me that today, yeah J
J If you know whats good for you
Youll get out of my way cause J
J Im crazy and Im hurt J
J Head on my shoulders J
J Going berserk J
J I wont apologize J
J For acting outta line J
J You see the way I am J
J You leave anytime you can cause J
J Head on my shoulders J
J Going berserk J
J I dont care what you fuckin do J
J I dont care what you fuckinsay J
J Im so sick of everything I
J I just wanna die! J