Aussie favourite Peter McNamara returns to Liverpool
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BOTH the men’s and women’s top 10 rankings for June boast eight different nationalities in each – highlighting the truly international flavour of modern tennis.
That variety is underlined even further by the experience of Aussie tennis legend Peter McNamara.
The two-time Wimbledon’s mens doubles champion is using his considerable experience and expertise to help develop the Chinese national team.
Formerly coach to one-time top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov and rising Aussie star Matthew Ebden, now McNamara is guiding talents like Qiang Wang, Zhang Ze and Wu Di – not household names …. yet.
But under McNamara’s guidance the Chinese are aiming to gatecrash the rankings, much like he did when he rose to number seven in the world before a knee injury halted his meteoric rise.
In 1981 Peter was voted the ATP’s Most Improved Player, and as one half of the duo dubbed The SuperMacs – Paul McNamee was the other – he celebrated Wimbledon success in 1980 and 1982.
Those experiences – against American duos Bob Lutz and Stan Smith, then Peter Fleming and a certain John McEnroe – might mean Peter is just a little biased when it comes to tennis tournaments, but he loves his grasscourt tennis over here.
“I don’t think there is any question about it, Wimbledon, especially for an Australian, is the ultimate Grand slam and I think it is for everyone,” he said.
“Everyone can say that their country has the best tournament, but in essence the number one Grand slam and the one you want to win is Wimbledon.
“There is an aura and tradition about it, it is something special and it is hard to describe. To win Wimbledon is the ultimate achievement.”
Those Wimbledon triumphs were the highlights of a burgeoning career, as Peter McNamara reached the quarters of the French Open, as well as five other tournament finals.
A debilitating knee injury then saw him sidelined for 21-months, before he bounced back in style winning perhaps the biggest singles title of his career at the Brussels Indoor that March, beating Ivan Lendl in a thrilling final that had the Belgian fans chanting his name.
That win elevated him to No. 7 in the ATP rankings, the highest of his career. The following week in his very next match, McNamara tore ligaments in his knee.
But he refused to buckle and ensured that tennis would not lose one of its most enduring, and talented characters.
Thirty-five years later he is still serving the sport – and is delighted that the men’s game is so open now that it allows those who are not always fancied by some to come through and win titles.
“Well I think it’s great, this is the most exciting time for tennis,” he said. You are see guys like Stanislas Wawrinka doing well and winning Grand slams and that is what we all want to see.
“Ok, everyone loves to see a Djokovic/Nadal final like there was in Paris but I think it is great to see an underdog, like maybe Dimitrov or Lopez. It is great for tennis.
“Tennis only benefits when there is two different types of players playing in the final.”
Like McNamara and McNamee – two halves of one of tennis’ most famous double acts.