Patrick McEnroe: withdrawal news was like ‘a punch to the gut’, says Patrick McEnroe

Tennis Patrick McEnroe: withdrawal news was like ‘a punch to the gut’, says Patrick McEnroe American who shared the news of Boris Becker’s retirement says it felt like losing family members in a car crash • Patrick McEnroe on WhatsApp: ‘He’s coming home, you have to accept that’

• One of the last surviving Davis Cup winners Patrick McEnroe was able to share the news of Boris Becker’s retirement. Photograph: Hendrik Buentello/EPA

Patrick McEnroe on Thursday shared the news of Boris Becker’s retirement on WhatsApp with friends and colleagues, calling it like “a punch to the gut”.

McEnroe and Becker have become central to American tennis since the Finnish teenager played there in 1976.

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“For all the tennis people I’ve played with, it’s like family,” McEnroe said in a video filmed by CNN and played on SportsCenter. “I share that experience with all of them.

“There’s a serious serious thunder of emotion for me. I’m just really sad.”

“I thought it was a big punch to the gut,” McEnroe said. “I have been in tears here in the locker room during practice when I’ve had to tell players that they don’t have the opportunity that I had to go to their weddings.”

Becker announced earlier this week that he was taking a break from tennis and retiring from the sport. McEnroe called Becker a friend and mentor and said he first shared the news of Becker’s impending retirement with him on Wednesday night after the German won his ninth Wimbledon title in June 1992.

McEnroe said it was such a hard decision for Becker, because he said it was something that he had always wanted to do.

“I’m going to miss my friend,” McEnroe said. “And his family. That will be very difficult for them, too. So I’m going to miss him.”

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