| McENROE: Challenged to a fist fight
Melbourne: An Australian coach has threatened to punch John McEnroe after the former world number one ridiculed his younger brother on national television.
Brent Larkham, the coach and older brother of Todd Larkham, challenged McEnroe to a fist-fight after the American commentator told millions of Australian viewers that Todd’s second-round defeat by world number one Lleyton Hewitt was “pitiful.”
McEnroe described the clash — which Hewitt won 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 — as a hopeless mismatch not worthy of being played on the Melbourne Park centre court.
“Todd didn’t know anything about it but I went looking for McEnroe, found him and told him I thought it was uncalled for,” Brent told the Sunday Herald Sun newspaper.
“I asked him if he wanted to back up his big mouth with a bit of action out in the car park but he didn’t want to and the last time I saw him he was leaving the changing rooms with a very short skirt on.
“He didn’t have a comeback. He just stood there like a little schoolgirl getting told off.
“He wouldn’t justify what he said, other than to say he gets paid to do a job and that he calls it the way he sees it. What he said on TV, if he said that on the street he would get his head knocked off,” said Brent.
“It was just a lack of respect. The way he commentates shows a lack of respect for everybody ...if you’re not in the top 20, you can’t play, according to him.”
Todd, a qualifier ranked 235th in the world, said McEnroe’s comments ruined what should have been one of the highlights of his career on the centre court.
“It should have been a great week but this has definitely taken a lot of the fun out of it,” he said.
“It’s fine to be critical of my game if that’s what he wants, and I’m okay with that. But when he gets personal, that’s where it is wrong.”
Both McEnroe and the Australian network he was working for refused to comment.