Hit-and-giggle tennis? John McEnroe?
You cannot be serious.
Any notion that Saturday night's "Game, Set, Rock!" exhibition at the Family Circle Cup would be an Agassi-Sampras style joke-fest was quickly disabused by the once, and apparently still, bad boy of tennis.
A minute into his singles match with Jim Courier, McEnroe stared down an oblivious noise-making fan in the stands at Stadium Court. Even at age 51, the gray-topped McEnroe still does not suffer fools gladly.
McEnroe and the 39-year-old Courier played surprisingly serious tennis, splitting the first two sets before McEnroe emerged triumphant in a tiebreak, 6-4, 4-6 (14-12).
Afterward, the pair teamed with Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova for a more light-hearted game of mixed doubles, delighting a festive crowd.
McEnroe, winner of four U.S. Opens and three Wimbledon titles in his prime, doesn't look much over his playing weight and still possesses the deft touch and purse-lipped deviltry that made him a superstar in his 1980s heyday.
Early in the match, he smashed an overhead, then dropped Courier's return gently over the net for a winner. After Mighty Mac ripped a forehand down the line, one fan shouted, "You've still got it!"
Despite his serious mein, McEnroe showed he's not afraid to play to stereotype. He slammed a ball to the court and high into the air after missing one shot, and shook his head ruefully after a group of fans called out, "Are you serious?"
The reference, of course, was to McEnroe's famous statement to a chair umpire at Wimbledon in 1981.
And McEnroe didn't disappoint the Stadium Court crowd. About 48 minutes into the match, he approached chair umpire Dewey Caulder, waved his arms and shouted, "You cannot be serious!"
Fans roared with laughter.
Courier played the good- natured foil to Mac's antics, still showing off the rocket forehand that helped him to four Grand Slam titles and a No. 1 ranking in 1992 and '93.
When McEnroe missed a forehand on his first match point in the tiebreak, he fired his racquet across the clay in disgust. Courier followed suit by tossing his weapon, too.
Was Mac ticked off or only kidding? You be the judge. When he framed a backhand on his third match point, he rocketed a ball into the upper reaches of Stadium Court.
But on his fourth match point, McEnroe finally clinched it with a delicate backhand drop shot, Courier shaking his head in admiration.
In the mixed doubles, Courier teamed with Seles, the 36-year-old winner of nine Grand Slam titles. Mac partnered with the 28-year-old Kournikova, who despite her top 10 ranking in 2000, has been better known for her social life and fashion sense.
For those interested, Anna wore pink with a white visor and her blond hair in a single long braid.