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John McEnroe caught in storm over 'disrespectful' commentary act at Australian Open

The American tennis great has been called out for not taking his commentary role at the Australian Open seriously.

John McEnroe pictured left and Zizou Bergs right
John McEnroe has been slammed over his commentary after fans claimed he didn't know who Zizou Bergs was during his first round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas. Image: Getty

John McEnroe has come under fire from fans for not knowing who Belgian tennis player Zizou Bergs is. The American tennis great has been commentating for both ESPN and Channel 9 at the Australian Open and was on deck alongside Nick Kyrgios for Stefanos Tsitsipas' first-round clash against lucky loser Bergs.

The 24-year-old Belgian is ranked 129 in the world and received the call-up after Tsitsipas' opponent Matteo Berretini withdrew from Melbourne Park with a foot injury. Bergs made his third grand slam appearance at Melbourne Park on Monday where he took the first set off the Greek star before going down 5-7 6-1 6-1 6-3.

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During the match, the 64-year-old caused a stir on social media after he seemingly knew nothing about the Belgian, a fact pointed out by American tennis player Thai-Son Kwiatkowski. "Insane to me that time and time again J. McEnroe goes on air and just admits he has zero clue who a player is. (Today, Bergs, 120 ATP) just says to the world, hey guys, I’ve done zero research for my job and I’m just going to disrespect someone who’s top 150 in the world at a job," he wrote on X.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Captain John McEnroe of Team World speaks during the Laver Cup Trophy presentation after his team defeated Team Europe during day three of the Laver Cup at Rogers Arena on September 24, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images for Laver Cup)
The American tennis great has been commentating for both ESPN and Channel 9 at the Australian Open and was on deck alongside Nick Kyrgios for Stefano Tsitsipas' first-round clash against lucky loser Zizou Bergs. Image: Getty (Jeff Vinnick via Getty Images)

The 28-year-old was not the only one who called out the commentator for not taking his job seriously. Tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg wrote on X: "It's not only disrespectful to the players, it’s disrespectful to the audience at home to be that unprepared, especially when given plenty of time to prep and a whole production crew ready to get you up to speed."

While tennis broadcaster Bryan Fenley added: "As a commentator on the ATP Challenger Circuit, I can honestly tell you that every night before calling matches, I’m up until 2-3 AM doing prep work. Showing up to work studied and well-researched is a sign of respect to the players, which they deserve."

Nick Kyrgios commended for commentary role

While McEnroe came under heavy fire, social media pointed out that his co-host Kyrgios looked like a natural and even tried to correct the American's pronunciation of Tsitsipas. “Listening to Kyrgios and John McEnroe on ESPN calling the Tsitsipas match. Thanks, Nick for trying to correct Mac’s pronunciation of Tsitsipas’ name,” one user wrote on X. While another added: “Enjoying Kyrgios as a commentator; only making McEnroe sound more amateurish and unprofessional than usual.”

It isn't the first time McEnroe has been called out for not knowing who a player is. Aussie tennis star John Millman took aim at the American for having no idea who the then 28th seed Nicolas Jarry was at Wimbledon last year. “How a commentator can say ‘we don’t know Jarry but we’ll get to know him’ is beyond ridiculous. 87 million people play tennis worldwide and this guy is the 28th best at it currently,” Millman tweeted.

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