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McEnroe derides doubles: ‘Why are we even playing it?’

Legendary player John McEnroe has questioned the usefulness of keeping doubles alive in professional tennis.

McEnroe won 155 titles in his illustrious career, of which 77 were in singles and 78 came in doubles.

But he has now spoken out against the latter, arguing that it is of little interest in the modern era and featuring only 'slower', 'mediocre' players.

McEnroe, who will be 55 next February, was arguably the best player to have ever crossed between singles and doubles consistently in his career and his views have been forthright.

"Doubles - why are we even playing it?" he said in an interview with The Times. "Most of you guys know I love doubles. But I look at it now and say, what is this? I don’t even recognise what this is.

"I don’t know what doubles is bringing to the table," he added. "The doubles are the slow guys who aren’t quick enough to play singles.

"Would it be better off, no disrespect, but would it be better off if there was no doubles at all, and we invest all the money we save elsewhere so that some other guys who never really got into a good position in the sport, end up playing more in singles?"

McEnroe's major gripe is with the fact that doubles has made millionaires of very mediocre players who could not cut it on the singles tour, and that is an issue many others in the game share.

Bob and Mike Bryan (Reuters)

His former professional doubles partner, Peter Fleming, once said that the best doubles team of all time would be 'Junior (his nickname for McEnroe) and anyone', so there is no doubt that his views carry real clout.

And on the subject of the most dominant doubles pair in the modern era, Bob and Mike Bryan, he was equally uncompromising with his views.

"I hear the greatest doubles players of all time - the Bryan Brothers and it’s 'Excuse me?' I find that comment unbelievable."

This week McEnroe has been asked to meet with Chris Kermode, the soon-to-be executive chairman and president of the ATP World Tour, and he will have a chance to further air his views on the state of the sport.

So what do you think? Should doubles be scrapped from professional tennis and is it even remotely worthwhile in the modern game with the top players avoiding it almost entirely? Post your views below...