With Wimbledon behind us, there’s a new documentary on John McEnroe coming out in August to whet tennis fans’ appetite as we gear up for the U.S. Open: In the Realm of Perfection.
Sure, there have been films about the American tennis legend and popular commentator for ESPN, but this one focuses only on his near-perfect 1984 season. Why 1984? It is considered McEnroe’s best season and with an 82-3 match record, it still remains the highest single season win rate of the Open Era.
The drama of McEnroe’s greatest season ever also includes his toughest loss, to Ivan Lendl in the French Open final, a tournament that McEnroe should have won. He was up two sets but Lendl switched tactics and climbed back for the win. To this day, McEnroe regrets this loss the most and the French Open not only remained the only grand slam he never won, 1984 was the only final he ever reached at Roland Garros.
In the Realm of Perfection zeroes in on this captivating moment in McEnroe’s career, focusing on the duality of his achievements and meltdowns over a high-octane stretch when the legend beat both Lendl and Jimmy Connors in several high-profile tournaments in his greatest tennis year ever. Featuring rich 16-mm-shot footage and compelling archival moments, director Julien Faraut highlights a “man who played on the edge of his senses.”