John McEnroe Credit: PA Images

John McEnroe Credit: PA Images

When John McEnroe peers through the camera lens and begins to open his soul, it’s impossible not to be drawn in.

The riveting new film, which follows the life of the tennis legend, hits theaters this weekend and is far from your traditional sports biopic.

Tennis fans will inevitably be rushing to relive the story of the seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, but what they get might come as a surprise as this is tennis’ bad boy opening up like never before.

He talks about his struggle to find acceptance in tennis, his attempts to control his notorious temper on court, and reflects on his greatest triumphs and tragedies on tennis courts around the world.

But it’s not until McEnroe opens up about his personal trauma in dealing with his worldwide fame and tumultuous marriage to actress Tatum O’Neill that we begin to understand why this proud New Yorker often struggled to enjoy his success and the wealth that came with it .

Uncompromising and brutally honest, McEnroe revealed that and explained in an exclusive interview with Tennis365 why this film had to be so vivid.

“I always try to be honest in my comments, but when you talk about your own life it brings a few extra beads of sweat because you’re wondering if people want to hear about it,” he begins.

“Why do people want to see a documentary about me at this point in my life? Do people really care?

“I think the journey is interesting and hopefully people will understand what I’ve been through as a person and understand a little bit more of what it was like back then and how I navigated back. To do something like that you have to be honest. There’s no point in doing it any other way.

“I don’t see this as a revelation. It won’t come as a complete shock, but hopefully people appreciate honesty. I’ve always carried my emotions on my sleeve. I never want to be boring!”

McEnroe’s children play a big role in the film and also play a key role in his post-tennis life as he admits his desire to set a good example for them is now a big part of his life.

“I have six kids myself, and if I sit there and tell them the glass is half empty instead of half full, what’s the point,” he asks.

“What kind of message does that send to my kids or other kids that I’m sitting there thinking ‘I should have won the French’ or ‘I should have won another Wimbledon’ or ‘I should have played in Australia more,’ if you consider what I have achieved.

“I know it’s human nature to wonder what should have, would, but my life has been amazing in so many ways. I think it’s important to show that overall I came out in a pretty darn good place and my perspective has improved over time. I think that is important.

“Now I feel like I’ve gotten to a point where, more than maybe at any other time in my life, I look at myself in the mirror and feel, ‘Hey, at least this guy has improved as a person over the years . You know, every year he tried to get a little bit better.”

McEnroe hits UK and Irish cinemas on July 15

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