Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
McEnroe is Autistic (Episode 42)

McEnroe is Autistic (Episode 42)

That's right--we're talking sports-ball! This tennis star is known for emotional intensity and insistence on fairness--something we can relate to!
Autistic hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria and Matt Lowry, LPP, discuss McEnroe is autistic
A: And they're like, how does he anticipate the ball like this? And the answer is pattern matching. M: Ah, yes.

Dr. Angela Lauria and Matt Lowry, LPP, discuss tennis legend John McEnroe and his many Autistic traits.

McEnroe had an impressive tennis career, utilizing Autistic pattern recognition to anticipate where the ball would go. He visualized the court like a chess board and said he turned the game into a math equation. The hosts further relate this to expectation sensitivity and Autistic scripting.

He was misunderstood for his on-court meltdowns reacting to unfair calls by referees. The media unjustly portrayed him as a "brat" and one of the most disliked people in the world—harsh!

“Because all autistic people, we have that expectation sensitivity, because we live in a world full of chaos and we need things to be predictable. Hence the patterns.” —Matt

In reality, the Autistic athlete is extremely empathetic and generous, donating huge sums to charity. He’s loyal to friends and passionate about causes like youth tennis programs.

His wife, Patty, believes he is on the autism spectrum based on his routines, math skills, sensory issues, and focus on special interests like art and guitar. McEnroe agrees it's likely.

“Patty is there for it, 28 years, great kids, great marriage and she says the thing that keeps their marriage strong is that she can always count on the fact that no one has a better moral compass than John.” —Angela

The hosts argue McEnroe's meltdowns were a natural reaction to an allistic world that insists on conformity and compliance over truth and justice. Perhaps, if the media had used a neurodiversity-affirming lens, he could have avoided being labeled so negatively.

Now in his later years, the Autistic celebrity leads a happy life with a partner who understands him. He channels special interests positively into tennis programs, art deals, and (his latest Autistic activity) voiceover work.

Did you catch all of McEnroe’s Autistic SPINs? In the comments, tell us which Autistic interests you picked up on, and use #AutisticCultureCatch to share your answer on your social media and connect with other listeners!

Listen to next:

McEnroe loves chess and we know why! Episode 31: Chess is Autistic

McEnroe’s looking to break into voice over work and he’ll have plenty of company when he makes it: Episode 32: Animation is Autistic

Ready for a paradigm shift that empowers Autistics? Help spread the news!


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Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Welcome to the Autistic Culture Podcast. Each episode we dive deep into Autistic contributions to society and culture by introducing you to some of the world’s most famous and successful Autistics in history!
Whether you are Autistic or just love someone who is, your hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria, the Linguistic Autistic and Licensed Psychological Practitioner, Matt Lowry, welcome you to take this time to be fully immersed in the language, values, traditions, norms, and identity of Autistica!
To learn more about Angela, Matt, and the Autistic Culture Podcast visit