John McEnroe needs no introduction. If you are a tennis enthusiast from the 80s or 90s, you would already know about his unrivalled shot-making and volleying skills in the game. But the American former professional tennis player, who now offers his take on the sport as a TV analyst, is now making a splash as a sage narrator of Netflix’s coming-of-age comedy-drama series Never Have I Ever, co-created by Mindy Kaling.
McEnroe has previously played himself in such films as Mr. Deeds (2002), Anger Management (2003), and Wimbledon (2004) and satirical sitcom 30 Rock and comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm to name a few. But narrating a coming-of-age comedy about an Indian American teen named Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), was an unlikely choice for the tennis great.
Kaling approached McEnroe at a post-Oscars Vanity Fair bash, vaguely pitching him the idea of narrating a new series she was working on. When asked about how he reacted to Kaling’s offer, McEnroe told a leading publication, “You cannot be serious. But I did not get the full details. At first, she just said, “(I have) this idea for the show I’m doing and I’d love you to narrate it.” Nine times out of 10 it’s the last time you’ll hear from someone. So, when I actually did hear from Mindy and her people, I was pleasantly surprised.”
So, what made him nod a yes to the show? “I like to try to do things that get you out of your comfort zone a little bit. I’ve always believed in the theory it’s better to try and fail than not try at all. And I thought this was different. I saw one interview on one of those entertainment shows where they were speaking to Maitreyi and they were like, “Have you ever thought about who you’d like as narrator?” And I’m like, “Why the hell are they saying that? She didn’t respond with something like: “Yes, I want Michelle Pfeiffer or I want Mindy Kaling to do it.” I suppose, as you get older, at least with me, you learn to appreciate things more. At certain times, I was disappointed in myself that while I was doing what I was doing — and I was even the best at it — I wasn’t getting the type of enjoyment I would have liked. So, it’s nice to sort of do something later on [in life] where you can,” he added.
Never Have I Ever 2 premiered on July 15, 2021, on Netflix.