Facebook Twitter

MAC’S MOUTH FLAPPING AGAIN AFTER A YEAR

SHARE MAC’S MOUTH FLAPPING AGAIN AFTER A YEAR

The John McEnroe-Mary Carillo feud, which began at the last U.S. Open, is out of hibernation after a one-year nap and back on the hot plate.

It was McEnroe who got the last Open off to a snappy start by complaining that Carillo (CBS-TV) didn't understand the men's game and shouldn't be doing commentary on men's matches.A rather gutsy shot in these politically correct times.

Not unexpectedly, that set off a couple of days of unpleasant exchanges from Carillo, who grew up with McEnroe on Long Island; from squeaky-voiced Tracy Austin, who works alongside McEnroe at USA cable network and who defended John; and from old pro Fred Stolle, who once worked with Carillo at ESPN and found her too eager to do too many things, including men's tennis.

Most of these little feuds resolve themselves over time. Not this one.

Last week, as the 1994 Open crept up on us, Carillo admitted that she hasn't spoken with former buddy McEnroe in a year.

"I wish I hadn't said it because of the heat I took," McEnroe responded. "But it's way, way down on my list of things to worry about."

It's funny. Everyone is talking about the sorry state of broadcast tennis. And then McEnroe comes along and everything perks up.

After blowing off the Carillo incident last week, Mac took aim at Jim Courier, who two weeks ago lost in Cincinnati and said he was unmotivated and might not play the Open.

As we all know, Courier is playing the Open after all, possibly after a short fiscal discussion with his sponsor, Nike.

But McEnroe was all over him, anyway. "One of his problems is that when things started to go wrong for him, he worked harder than ever and he burned himself out. Overtrained.

"His confidence is low, and he's frustrated. But he made the right decision to play (the Open). He's a lot tougher in best-of-five sets than in best-of-three."

The overly sensitive Courier isn't going to like those remarks, especially after taking great pains to say that he wasn't burned out, that he just needed a few days off.

But that's McEnroe. If he has something to say, he's going to say it.

"I've known him 30 years," said Carillo. "He can still shock me."

AND WHILE WE'RE GRIPING: Andrei Medvedev, who complained last year about the noise in New York, the people in New York and the food in the players lounge, is whining on all cylinders, and the tournament hasn't even begun.

"What I said about the food last year was the truth. It wasn't complaining," he said.

"People in America don't like to hear the truth. In America, everyone smiles and says, `How are you?' This is fake. I look forward to being at the U.S. Open, but I don't look forward to being at Flushing Meadow."

Whine or not, Medvedev's criticism of the food was taken seriously by tournament director Jay Snyder, who says that the food has been improved and is more varied and that players also can eat at some of Manhattan's finest restaurants at discounted prices.

"All they have to do is show their player badges," said Snyder.

IT'S NOT BORING: Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario have played five finals this year (Graf leads 3-2), but Sanchez Vicario says every match is "completely different." Usually, it's Graf who dictates the pace of the matches. But at the Canadian Open, "I surprised her going to the net a lot for points," said Sanchez Vicario.

With Graf experiencing back pain, Sanchez Vicario has her best chance at winning a fast-court Grand Slam title. It would also be her second Slam title of the year, having won the French.

SUDDENLY, IT'S BORIS: Pete Sampras has an ankle injury. Goran Ivanisevic's thigh is strained. Courier is in a semi-funk.

Could Boris Becker, at 26 and in his 12th year on tour, win his second Open?

He is 11-1 since Wimbledon and says he feels rejuvenated working with tennis guru Nick Bollettieri.

You don't teach a 26-year-old pro a new stroke or make him quicker. But Becker says Bollettieri has "made work fun again. It is important to get me psyched up, to inspire me, to talk to me in a positive way so I am giving it all out. He is the expert in that."