John McEnroe is know for being many things…artist, guitarist, social activitivist, father, voice of reason for tennis…but a hockey fan? The Knicks have long been McEnroe’s passion, but he recently revealed his love for the ice as well, especially because of a friendship with Rangers great Henrik Lundqvist.
“I have always loved the Rangers, since the Ratelle and Brad Park days and that tough loss to the Canadiens in the finals in 1989,” McEnroe said recently while promoting his upcoming July 19th World Team Tennis match with Andre Agassi to raise money for the John McEnroe Tennis Academy which is bringing the game to hundreds of kids in the New York area. “I became friends with guys like Ron Duguay at that point, and I have as much respect for what Mark Messier did to bring the Stanley Cup to New York in 1994 as I do for any athlete. he is a great person as well.”
However what keeps McEnroe and his family interested in the Broadway Blues these days is his friendship with current star goaltender Henrik Lunqvist, with whom he also shares a passion for music. McEnroe and his daughters have again become MSG regulars this spring as the Rangers battle the Devils for a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Final. “He’s an incredible athlete [on the tennis court]. I was surprised, but I shouldn’t be because I watched him as a goalie and the guy’s unbelievable and he’s the MVP of the league,’’ McEnroe added. “He’s probably the best player I’ve played who is not a ‘tennis player.’ He’s unbelievably quick and balanced on the court. I hate to admit he’s even a better guitar player than me. But at one stage, he was at the net, I hit a few balls to him and I was pitter-pattering around figuring these guys don’t want to get hit in the head. But I thought to myself, I’m playing Henrik Lundqvist. I could hit it as hard as I possibly could and he can knock it off like it was nothing.’’
The two have also played at a number of events this past winter in a band, jamming with a shared passion for the blues guitar. McEnroe may miss part of the Finals as he heads to Paris for French Open work this coming weekend, but he will be watching from a far. He has also invited Lunqvist back out to Sportime on Randall’s Island in New York (where his Academy and the WTT Sportimes are based) to play once the season eventually ends. “He’s a great guy and I’m rooting for the Rangers, I think what they have done for the City this year is phenomenal, and I’m hoping they can finish the run.”