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Queen's Club Won't Take Any More McEnroe Abuse

July 26, 1985|Associated Press

LONDON — John McEnroe was asked Thursday "to do the honorable thing" and resign from the prestigious Queen's Club, following a complaint about his behavior.

Club officials said the 26-year-old tennis star from New York would be expelled from the 99-year-old West London club if he did not offer his resignation within 30 days.

McEnroe, who has been an honorary member for three years, was the subject of a complaint by Queen's Club members, who claimed he used abusive language when asked to vacate a court he was using for practice during the Wimbledon championships.

Jonathan Edwards, secretary of the exclusive club, which each year holds a $250,000 grass court tournament two weeks before Wimbledon, said the complaint was that McEnroe had used "unprintable" language.

"As a result of the incident, the members who suffered this verbal abuse wrote to complain to the committee," Edwards said. "Last night we had our normal committee meeting, and this matter was on the agenda. The result of our deliberations was to ask McEnroe to resign. We would hope Mr. McEnroe would do the honorable thing and resign."

In Pittsburgh, where he played an exhibition match Thursday, McEnroe said: "Let them do the things that they feel is necessary. It's not something I'm going to lose a whole lot of sleep over.

"I don't think people even know what the Queen's Club membership is, much less care about it here. It kind of makes me angry that people ask about it. People don't even know what it is. It's just another story to them (reporters). Let's put it this way: I'm glad to be in America. That's about the only thing I can say."

Among the members who complained was the wife of a former club chairman, Sheila Boden. Her husband, Ivar, who was on the committee that called for McEnroe to resign, said his wife and another woman had booked the court and allowed McEnroe several more minutes to play.

"Then they politely pointed out it was their court," he said.

"Mr. McEnroe was rude to them. One of the women asked him, 'Have you no manners?' and he just erupted. His language was thoroughly obscene. To use his words, it was 'the pits.' "

Sheila Boden, asked what McEnroe said, replied: "I am not prepared to repeat what he said. I am surprised you ask me to. It was something you would not hear in the gutter. It was as offensive as it could be.

"I was appalled and really shattered. It was something you just don't expect."

She said it was her husband who proposed McEnroe for honorary membership in the club, but added that there was now no alternative but to ask for McEnroe's resignation.

"Somebody has to put McEnroe in his place. He has to be taught a lesson by someone," she said.

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