Written by Staff Writer at CNN
The last 10 days in Japan have been an eye-opening, emotional and downright eerie experience for tennis expert and commentator Patrick McEnroe.
In April he called on the Japanese Government to intervene in the marriage of a journalist and a high-profile woman. His comments sparked an outcry, criticism from both sides of the political spectrum and bad press globally.
McEnroe appeared to defend the conservative right-wing journalist and questioned the liberal mindset of the feminist organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
A victory over bureaucracy
Today, McEnroe is distraught about the decision to withdraw his case against the country’s environmental watchdog.
“I feel like a punch to the gut. The whole thing is still so surreal,” McEnroe says of the public outpouring against him over the relationship of two women in the male-dominated sports media world.
“Going forward there’s nothing I can do. The court order has now been issued,” he told CNN at the opening night ceremony of the Japan Open.
“I’m just so happy that the youth of today are looking at something so ridiculous and important. I think Japan has got a huge future with tech and with everything else and I’m so proud of them for taking on this huge fight.
“It was an easy case for them to find me guilty and I think they took it pretty easy. They didn’t throw me in jail for life. They didn’t do any of that. They took a very minimal sanction.”
McEnroe, who lives in Tennessee, with his wife and their kids, is now involved in a very normal life.
“I did not miss the Japan Open and it was like a zombie-like state,” he says.
“I said if the game ever came back, I would take a week off and get right back to the court.
“I played on with guys from my childhood and everyone is having such a great time. I have no regrets.”
A cautious businessman
McEnroe is also reluctant to join the US Tennis Association’s effort to stop the use of the term “top seed.”
“What’s the point of saying the first seed if you don’t win?” he says.
“I think the ‘seeds’ have been beaten by the fact that these are young guys with a huge amount of talent, a lot of energy and enthusiasm. There’s no question that they can put together a program that can put the world champion as their first seed but I think that’s the downfall.
“To have six weeks of top seeds is detrimental to the sport’s growth.”
He adds: “I still find it hard to believe that number one seeds are now really taking on the culture of Nike and the top brands that own golf and Tennis and other sports, so I’m not quite sure it works.
“I’m still wondering if sponsors really want to associate themselves with this bizarre, archaic idea of the top player in the world.
“But who knows. If top seed is a losing scheme, what could be a winning scheme?”
Not worth it, says McEnroe.