General Peter Bernard
McNamara
Male
Australia
1955-07-05
Melbourne, Victoria, Austria
2019-07-20
Sonthofen, Bayern, Germany


About

From The Guardian, 28 July 2019

Obituary – Peter McNamara – Australian tennis player who found fame in doubles with Paul McNamee

By Richard Evans

The tennis player Peter McNamara, who has died aged 64 from prostate cancer, was as straightforward as he was talented. “Macca won well and he lost well, which is so hard,” said the other Macca, Paul McNamee, his partner in a famous doubles team.

The pairing worked so well together that they became the SuperMacs of Australian tennis, continuing their nation’s tradition of doubles expertise by taking the Australian Open title in 1979 before winning Wimbledon in 1980 and in 1982, when they beat the great pair of John McEnroe and Peter Fleming in straight sets. Of the 19 doubles titles that McNamara won around the world, 14 came with McNamee.

For a time McNamara was also a force in singles, winning five titles from 12 appearances in finals. He reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open twice, as well as the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and the French Open. In 1983 he rose to No 7 in the singles rankings. However, that promise remained unfulfilled after he was compelled to retire four years later from both singles and doubles competition on the ATP tour. His progress was halted at precisely the moment he gained his highest ranking, which came as a result of defeating Ivan Lendl, close to the peak of his powers at the time, in the final of an indoor tournament at Brussels.

A subsequent short trip down the autoroute took the tour to Rotterdam for the next tournament, and sections of the acrylic hardcourt surface went with it. But in the new venue the edges of the boards on which the acrylic surface were laid proved to be uneven. Playing Jiří Granát in the first round, McNamara put his foot on the affected area, twisted his knee, and that, in effect, marked the end of a career that many experts felt stood on the threshold of greatness.

Bill Norris, the chief physio on the ATP tour, was immediately at McNamara’s side as he fell in agony. “Peter tore the anterior cruciate ligament,” Norris said. “He also damaged his medial meniscus on the warped boards. He went through months of rehab but his mobility was never quite the same.” McNamara was off the tour for 21 months and the victory over Lendl proved to be the last singles title he won. “Macca’s backhand was as good as I have ever seen – one-handed, beautiful,” said Pat Cash, who was emerging as a top Australian Davis Cup player around the same time.

In 1981, McNamara’s all-round ability had shown itself to the world when he won the German Open by overcoming Jimmy Connors 7-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in the best match I saw him play. Even allowing for the fact that European clay was not Connors’ best surface it was a considerable achievement. With its damp climate, the clay at Hamburg’s Rothenbaum club is some of the heaviest on the circuit and few naturally attacking players enjoy ploughing through it.

But, unlike Connors, McNamara had done his homework on the stuff. Through the summers of 1977 and 1978 he had opted out of the main ATP tour to accept invitations in small events all over France, from Beaulieu on the Mediterranean coast to La Baule on the Atlantic. “Great for my clay court game,” I remember him telling me with a grin. “Great food and wine, everyone seems pleased to see me and I get a few hundred francs guaranteed.” It was the making of a fine clay court player.

Once he realised that his knee would never recover properly, McNamara took up coaching and became a tough taskmaster. I remember him arriving in Toulouse with a young Mark Philippoussis, imparting a few terse words about work ethic. Philippoussis took much of what McNamara taught him to heart, and went on the reach the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open.

Later, McNamara worked with Grigor Dimitrov at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in Paris, then Matt Ebden and, until February this year, with the Chinese player Wang Qiang, whose WTA ranking rose to No 20 under his guidance.

Born in Melbourne, where his father had a haberdashery store, Peter was educated at Marcellin college, a Catholic school in Bulleen. Soon after joining the pro tour he teamed up with McNamee, who was from a less privileged background. “We were different personalities but we quickly accepted it was futile trying to change one another,” said McNamee. “The main point was that our games complemented each other’s.”

Later in life McNamara settled in Sonthofen in southern Germany, at the foot of the Bavarian Alps, with his wife, Petra (formerly Leiner). She survives him, along with the sons, Daniel and Justin, of his first marriage, to Catie Raynor, which ended in divorce, and the daughter, Rochelle, and son, Julien, he had with his partner Isabella Cowan.



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Archive statistics 1972 - 1987
23
441
283


Tournament wins 1981 - German International Championships ()
1980 - Ulm (Amateur)
1980 - Zell Am See (Open)
1980 - Belgian International Championships ()
1979 - Championships of Berlin (Amateur)
1978 - France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 4 (Open)
1978 - Italian Spring Satellite - Leg 4 (Open)
1978 - Italian Spring Satellite - Leg 3 (Open)
1978 - Italian Spring Satellite - Leg 2 (Open)
1977 - Austria Satellite - Masters (Open)
1977 - France 1 Indoor Satellite - Masters (Open)
1976 - South West Districts VIC ()
1976 - France 2 Satellite Masters (Open)
1976 - France 2 Satellite - Leg 3 (Open)
1976 - France 2 Satellite - Leg 2 (Open)
1976 - Victorian Hardcourt Championships ()
1975 - City of Fremantle Championships (Amateur)
1975 - Paddington (Amateur)
1975 - Lausanne International (Open)
1975 - Surrey Championships (Amateur)
1975 - Australian Hard Courts Championship (Amateur)
1974 - South West Districts VIC ()
1974 - Malaysian International Championships (Open)


Tournaments Australian Open - 1987 Australian Open - 1985 Wimbledon - 1985 Roland Garros - 1985 Australian Open - 1984 Wimbledon - 1982 Monte Carlo - 1982 Roland Garros - 1982 River Oaks Tournament - 1982 Delray Beach - 1982 Richmond Indoor Championships - 1982 Milano Indoors - 1982 Toronto Indoor - 1982 WCT - Mexico City - 1982 Four-Master Championship, Cairo - 1982 Frankfurt Open - 1982 Australian Open - 1981 Wimbledon - 1981 Roland Garros - 1981 US Open - 1981 New South Wales Championships - 1981 Canadian International Championships - 1981 Pacific Coast Championship - 1981 Italian International Championships - 1981 German International Championships - 1981 Bastad - 1981 Stuttgart - 1981 Australian Indoors - 1981 North Conway - 1981 Nations Cup - 1981 Australia Super Challenge - 1981 Melbourne Indoor - 1981 Australian Open - 1980 Wimbledon - 1980 Monte Carlo - 1980 Roland Garros - 1980 US Open - 1980 New South Wales Championships - 1980 Austrian International Championships - 1980 Nice - 1980 Italian International Championships - 1980 US International Indoor Championships - 1980 River Oaks Tournament - 1980 German International Championships - 1980 Belgian International Championships - 1980 ABN AMRO Rotterdam - 1980 Indian Wells - 1980 Bastad - 1980 Gstaad - 1980 Metz - 1980 Zell Am See - 1980 Hong Kong Open - 1980 Australian Indoors - 1980 Ulm - 1980 WCT - Forest Hills - 1980 Tokyo Indoor - 1980 WPC Festwochen Open - 1980 Melbourne Indoor - 1980 Australian Open - 1979 Wimbledon - 1979 Roland Garros - 1979 New South Wales Championships - 1979 Nice - 1979 US Clay Courts - 1979 Italian International Championships - 1979 Netherlands International Championships - 1979 International Championships of Egypt - Cairo - 1979 German International Championships - 1979 Championships of Berlin - 1979 South African Championships - 1979 Argentina International Championships - 1979 Belgian International Championships - 1979 Wimbledon Plate (Consolation) - 1979 Australian Hard Courts Championship - 1979 Japan Open - 1979 Sicilian International Championships - 1979 Indian Wells - 1979 Madrid Open - 1979 Stuttgart - 1979 Gstaad - 1979 Travemünde International - 1979 Zell Am See - 1979 North Conway - 1979 Johannesburg Open - 1979 Tokyo Indoor - 1979 Porsche Grand Prix - 1979 Bordeaux Open - 1979 Australian Open - 1978 Wimbledon - 1978 New South Wales Championships - 1978 Cincinnati - 1978 Queens Club Tournament - 1978 US Pro Championships - 1978 Kent Championships - 1978 Wimbledon Plate (Consolation) - 1978 Tasmanian Championships - 1978 Western Australia Championships - 1978 Washington Open - 1978 South Orange Open - 1978 Hong Kong Open - 1978 Louisville Open - 1978 Columbus Open - 1978 Manila International - 1978 Australian Indoors - 1978 Taipei Summit Open - 1978 Italian Spring Satellite - Leg 1 - 1978 Italian Spring Satellite - Leg 2 - 1978 Italian Spring Satellite - Leg 3 - 1978 Italian Spring Satellite - Leg 4 - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 2 - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 3 - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 4 - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Masters - 1978 Italian Spring Satellite - Masters - 1978 Stowe - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 1 - 1978 Australian Open - 1977-2 South Australian Championships - 1977(2) Australian Open - 1977 New South Wales Championships - 1977 Nice - 1977 Belgian International Championships - 1977 Australian Hard Courts Championship - 1977 Aix-en-Provence - 1977 Auckland - 1977 Stuttgart - 1977 Bad Neuenahr - 1977 Unterhaching General - 1977 Ulm - 1977 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 2 - 1977 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 3 - 1977 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 4 - 1977 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Masters - 1977 Austria Satellite - Leg 3 - 1977 Austria Satellite - Masters - 1977 Switzerland Satellite Leg 2 - 1977 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 1 - 1977 Lausanne International - 1977 Australian Open - 1976 South Australian Championships - 1976 Kent Championships - 1976 Paddington - 1976 Wimbledon Qualifying - 1976 Victorian Hardcourt Championships - 1976 New South Wales Hard Court Championships - 1976 Australian Indoors - 1976 South West Districts VIC - 1976 Pacific Land Players - 1976 France 2 Satellite Masters - 1976 France 2 Satellite - Leg 2 - 1976 France 2 Satellite - Leg 3 - 1976 Sydney Metropolitan Hard Courts - 1975-A Australian Open - 1975 Wimbledon - 1975 South Australian Championships - 1975 New South Wales Championships - 1975 Kent Championships - 1975 Surrey Championships - 1975 Paddington - 1975 Australian Hard Courts Championship - 1975 Chichester - 1975 Surrey Hard Court Championships - 1975 City of Fremantle Championships - 1975 Australian Indoors - 1975 Lausanne International - 1975 New South Wales Championships - 1974B South Australian Championships - 1974 Western Canada Grass Court Championships - 1974 Surrey Championships - 1974 Wimbledon Qualifying - 1974 Tasmanian Championships - 1974 Chichester - 1974 Western Australia Championships - 1974 Surrey Hard Court Championships - 1974 Malaysian International Championships - 1974 South West Districts VIC - 1974 Australian Hard Courts Championship - 1973 New South Wales Hard Court Championships - 1973 Tasmanian Open - 1973 South Australian Championships - 1972

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