Former Southampton resident John McEnroe is returning to the East End for a friendly bout of tennis this weekend. Once known for his loyalty to metal racket frames and for his fiery court-side manner, he is now the founder of the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, a Randall’s Island–based nonprofit that introduces tennis to thousands of under-resourced kids in the New York City area. The organization’s annual Pro-Am in the Hamptons returns to SPORTIME Amagansett Tennis and Swim Club on Saturday, August 24. It’s one of the largest pro-am tennis events in the world and draws spectators and players from around the globe each year.
McEnroe and his brother Patrick McEnroe, a fellow tennis player, will participate, as will many other pros—including Emilio Sánchez, Guillermo “Willy” Cañas, Mardy Fish, Kim Clijsters and Mats Wilander. In total, there will be 64 pros and 64 amateurs playing seven rounds of pro-am doubles. The McEnroes and other all-stars will also play in a thrilling exhibition. For those less inclined to pick up a racket themselves, there will also be a live auction, food, drinks and plenty of family entertainment. The tournament begins at 2 p.m. and is followed by an after party sponsored by Bird in Hand.
Though there has been an increase in negative news coverage of tennis in recent years, McEnroe is providing plenty of positive headlines through the life-changing Johnny Mac Tennis Project. “The dream is to bring the buzz back to American tennis, starting in New York,” he says on the organization’s website. “Tennis is a great community sport, but we need to make it more accessible to those of every income level and in communities where tennis has not been accessible in the past.”
Tickets for the tournament and after party, as well as opportunities to donate to the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, are available at jmtpny.org.