Today in Performance Sneaker History: McEnroe Ejected from Australian Open

Tennis legend John McEnroe has had one of the most storied careers in the game. A former World No. 1 ranked player, McEnroe holds four records in Championship play, including eight singles and doubles titles from 1979-1992 at Wimbledon.

However, on January 21, 1990, John was ejected from the Australian Open after reaching the fourth round against Mikael Pernfors. After becoming increasingly frustrated, McEnroe intimidated a lineswoman and then smashed his racket. He also used abusive language towards umpire Gerry Armstrong, which, due to a new Code of Conduct, was his third and final strike before being expelled from the competition. To add to the embarrassment, McEnroe was hit with a $65,000 fine.

Although it certainly wasn’t his finest moment, McEnroe took the punishment in style. Laced up in Tinker Hatfield’s revolutionary Nike Air Trainer 1 design, the tennis icon helped to make the model famous during the early years of cross-training sneakers. Created with versatility in mind, Tinker’s idea behind cross-trainers was that they could be utilized for a number of sports and activities, eliminating the need to lug around multiple pairs of shoes. This original “Chlorophyll” style is often recognized as the model which paved the way for the popularity of cross-trainers in the following years.

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