It’s all familiar for McKendry at Wimbledon – a big, loud family

Chris McKendry, Patrick McEnroe, Chris Evert and John McEnroe (Dave Nagle/ESPN)
Chris McKendry, Patrick McEnroe, Chris Evert and John McEnroe (Dave Nagle/ESPN)

LONDON – At home in Connecticut, Chris McKendry is mom to two boys, ages nine and 11. She also has three brothers (no sisters) and eight nephews (no nieces).

Anyone with boys knows what that means. . . many moments of joy, mixed with the occasional civil unrest requiring the assertion of parental control.

Hosting live studio shows at Wimbledon for the first time, it’s often the same for McKendry on ESPN’s exclusive telecasts.

Chris McKendry (Dave Nagle/ESPN)
Chris McKendry (Dave Nagle/ESPN)

Except this time, her “boys” are aged 55 and 48 – John and Patrick McEnroe (who celebrated his birthday July 1). When she is hosting studio segments and the conversation starts getting a bit out of hand and “the boys” are being a bit unruly, her “mom voice” comes to play.

“I lower my voice, get a bit louder and give them a serious look that says, ‘Boys, eyes on me!’, and that gets their attention. . . I learned it from my mom,” said McKendry, talking about both sets of boys. “Little did I know I’ve been preparing all my life for this role!”

Said Patrick McEnroe: “I wouldn’t call her our mom – she’s too young and too ‘happening’ – but she’s the big sister I never had. And yes, she does a good job of keeping John and me under wraps.”

Even before becoming a mom, McKendry was well accustomed to interacting with rambunctious boys. She’s the only girl from a “loud Irish family” of four children.

“I’m used to boys giving each other the business and picking on each other,” she said. “I understand the dynamic. I’ve lived the dynamic.”

That said, in both cases – raising sons or hosting a live discussion – she knows she has to give them some rope, to a point.

“You have to let John go,” she says. “You want John to go where the rest of us don’t think to go because it’s entertaining and insightful.

“But it can go on a bit into tangents, with John and Patrick having fun volleying shots at each other – right over Chrissie [Evert] – on the set, and I have to interject with a question directed at her so she can get a word in,” she said.

For all the occasional angst, like motherhood, McKendry finds the experience rewarding.

“The guys – and Chrissie – know so much and have such large personalities, it makes for great TV for the viewer, and it’s fun for me,” she said.

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