Screened as part of NZIFF 2022

McEnroe 2022

Directed by Barney Douglas

Tennis legend John McEnroe dishes on the highs and lows of his epic career and how his drive for perfection nearly broke him in this engaging doco packed with amazing archival footage and rare insight.

USA In English
104 minutes DCP

Director, Screenplay


Victoria Barrell, Paddy Kelly, Anna Godas


Lucas Tucknott


Steve Williams


Felix White


John McEnroe


Tribeca 2022


Although fans will relish seeing previously unseen footage from some of the biggest matches in tennis history, being an aficionado is not a requisite to enjoying this absorbing portrait of the (formerly) infamous bad boy of tennis and one of the sport’s greatest exponents, whose career played out in an era when tennis reached a peak of cultural influence and popularity.

In candid stream-of-conscious musings, John McEnroe unpicks his career and life. He also lets us tag along with him on a long night walk around his hometown of New York City. Shot in natural night light, these shadowy vignettes reflect sombre psychic spaces, as, among other things, McEnroe ponders his difficult relationship with his domineering father, who was also once his agent, his obsessive perfectionist drive, and the lousy aspects of his behaviour on and off the court – of which we see plenty. The regret he evinces is confirmed by his wife and daughters, while Billie Jean King offers sympathetic and enlightening insight into the stress athletes of McEnroe’s calibre face in the pursuit of top performance and perfection. Björn Borg, his toughest foe, turns out to be a lifelong friend. — Sandra Reid