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Thanks CBS for the McEnroe, Nastase memories

September 11, 2009 |  2:10 pm

John It's not been a good day for CBS, which has been scheduled to televise tennis all day. There has been no tennis from the U.S. Open so far. Only rain.

So Dick Enberg, Mary Carillo and John McEnroe have been introducing lots of old tennis clips (some only as old as, say Roger Federer's quarterfinal win over Robin Soderling).

But the best television so far, and probably more entertaining than anything that might happen live, was the rebroadcast of the 18 minutes of chaos during a 1979 Open match between McEnroe and Ilie Nastase.

A controversial call against Nastase led to a near-uprising from the crowd (they thought Nastase was right), an apparent default to McEnroe while Nastase refused to serve and finally the unfairly embarrassing replacement of respected chair umpire Frank Hammond.

McEnroe, after the clip, while congratulating himself for being the good guy during the contretemps, did say the worst part of the event was the way Hammond had been treated. McEnroe said no umpire was more respected by the players than Hammond.

And the match still remains as the example most cited as evidence of out-of-control nighttime Open crowds.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: John McEnroe hits a ball on the practice court at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Tuesday. Credit: Amy Sancetta / Associated Press