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John McEnroe Partners with American Express and Calm to Help Fans Relax at Wimbledon 2019…Yes, Seriously!


The former hot-headed international tennis legend and three time Wimbledon singles champion, John McEnroe, has teamed up with American Express, as part of the brand’s partnership with The Championships, 2019, to create a Sleep Story with the sleep and meditation app Calm, to help soothe tennis fans’ nerves.

The Sleep Story comes as research, commissioned by American Express, reveals that watching a nail-biting tennis match can increase feelings of tension by as much as 50%; with over three quarters (77%) of participants reporting feeling stressed at some point during a tennis match1.

To help combat this heightened emotion, McEnroe collaborated with American Express and Calm to create a 30-minute Sleep Story called “But Seriously, the Rules of Tennis,” which details the complete rules of tennis. The recording will help to calm anxious fans who need a break from the on-court action.

McEnroe said, “I will admit, I wasn’t the calmest of players in my days. I got pretty hot when the simple rules of in and out were up for debate. So, what better way to spread a little relaxation at Wimbledon this year than to read the complete rules of tennis in the calmest way I could? I can guarantee that listening to my Sleep Story at the American Express Fan Experience will help ease away any tension caused by watching some of the most exciting tennis in the world.”

Patrick Fagan, Behavioural Scientist and Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths University, London, who carried out the research said, “Tennis is renowned for being stressful for the players. However, the findings from our research show that it can be particularly stressful for viewers as well. Using automated facial coding we were able to analyse what people were feeling as they watched a match. The results were fascinating and supported the hypothesis that tennis fans go through a range of emotions – not least stress – throughout the course of a match.”

McEnroe’s recording of “But Seriously, the Rules of Tennis” is available at the American Express Fan Experience at Wimbledon, as well as through the Calm app here: The Fan Experience is located in the Southern Village and open from July 1 – July 14, 2019 between 10:30am – 7:00pm. It is closed on July 7, 2019.

You can learn more about the Fan Experience and additional benefits American Express is offering Card Members at The Championships here.

1Between 17th -21st June 2019, a sample of 290 participants was recruited through an online panel provider. Research combined self-reported psychometric measures of anxiety (calm, tense, upset, relaxed, content, worried) with biometric detection technology used to analyse participants facial expressions. The research was undertaken by Patrick Fagan, Behavioural Scientist and Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths University, London.

The Championships, Wimbledon, is the oldest of the four tennis Grand Slams and the only one played on grass. Held at the All England Club, established in 1868, the first Championships took place in 1877.

Calm is a leading global health and wellness brand with the #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. The company is on a mission to make the world happier and healthier. With hundreds of hours of original audio content, the Calm app helps users cope with some of the most important mental health issues of the modern age including anxiety, stress and insomnia. Apple’s 2017 iPhone App of the Year and Inc’s 19th fastest growing company boasts over 51 million downloads to date, averaging 80,000 new users daily.

About American Express

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