John McEnroe wants the touring professional tennis players to help return integrity to the sport. McEnroe, one of the richest players in the game, wants his fellow players to stand up for their rights and, he says, face the businessmen who control the sport.

In an interview at a tournament in Antwerp, Belguim, McEnroe said he wants the wealth and luxury that pervades opulent exhibition tournaments, like this week's $923,000 European Community championships, to be redistributed so that people other than the players benefit.

To do that, he says he wants players to take on a greater share in decision-making for the sport and, if necessary, form their own tour to rival the lucrative Nabisco Grand Prix circuit. "The attitude that prevails in tennis makes me sick to my stomach," McEnroe said.

He told reporters at the tournament, where he lost to Czechoslovakia's Miloslav Mecir in the quarterfinals Friday, that, instead of a sport, "companies decided {tennis} was a business and they can make money off it." So the New Yorker, who has made $9,194,859 in official tournaments alone, wants change.

"It is absurd that a tennis player can go out and make 1 million dollars a year and teachers are making $25,000 or 20,000," he said. "I don't think that's fair. If people want to pay for it, that is one thing.

"But people that can influence our children and people's lives -- for example firemen and policemen -- are so badly underpaid sometimes. You just look at it. It doesn't make sense." . . .

Top-seeded Steffi Graf defeated third-seeded Manuela Maleeva, 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, in the semifinals of the $150,000 European Indoor tournament in Zurich. In the final, Graf will meet second-seeded Hana Mandlikova, a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 winner over unseeded Nathalie Tauziat.