McEnroe serves as the narrator of Mindy Kaling’s coming-of-age series, the second season of which was recently released onto the streaming platform.
“That’s why people think of me in the first place,” he added.
The seven-time Grand Slam singles winner — who was renowned for his mid-match antics — is still most widely recognized for the 1981 moment, which came during the first round at the 1981 Wimbledon Championships after McEnroe disagreed with a line call. Despite the outburst, he went on to win the tournament.
He told CNN that people shout the phrase at him almost every day.
“They say it to me before I have a chance to say it to them,” he said. “It’s sort of pathetic in a way, and exhilarating in a way, that people remember.”
“There were times over the course of the past decades where people would say, ‘I recognize your voice,'” he said of his career turn. “It’s always something I thought about doing, I just didn’t know whether it would ever end up happening.”
Kaling cast McEnroe, 62, after spontaneously telling him about the role at a red carpet event, and the unexpected career turn has proven popular with fans of the show.
McEnroe agreed, expecting the role to be a cameo. “I didn’t realize that I’d end up being the uncle, the alter-ego of this young Indian-American teenage girl,” he said.
Kaling’s semi-autobiographical show focuses on Devi, a teenager still reeling from the abrupt death of her father, as she navigates high school.
McEnroe did not attend the series’ set and recorded his voice-overs for the second series in a studio during the pandemic. But he said he felt like “a real part of the series,” adding: “I could definitely relate to that feeling that you don’t really fit in.”