Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray verdicts delivered by McEnroe

John McEnroe has given his verdict on the Big Four before the French Open – and has claimed Novak Djokovic has a great chance of stopping Rafa Nadal equalling Roger Federer’s record of Grand Slam titles.

But the Eurosport analyst fears Andy Murray will be forced to quit if he does not return to 100% fitness within six months.

With Federer missing the claycourt Grand Slam after a double knee operation, Djokovic and Nadal are on collision course to meet in the final.

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And wildcard Murray, now down at world No 111 in the rankings, has been drawn to face fellow three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka in the first round today.

McEnroe on Federer

“You can’t put it past him to make a successful return next year because part of it is his love of the game and he just enjoys being out there so much. I don’t know what will happen if he doesn’t win as much as he does, presumably if it was me, I wouldn’t be enjoying it as much if I wasn’t winning but he is still legit in everyone’s minds two or three in the world, four in the world at the worst. So, we’ll see how it plays out.

“Presumably down in Australia, I guess that’s where he is probably going to come back, the courts suit him pretty well. I’m sure if he doesn’t feel like he’s capable of making a deep run, he’s not going to play, he’s no reason to, so I would presume he is going to be coming back at a high level but it’s just hard to imagine at 39 you could be as close to what you were, that would be extremely difficult to do.”

McEnroe on Nadal

“I just think because of the situation, the world-wide pandemic, that makes him more vulnerable.

“I think Rafa is a player who likes to get some matches in under his belt and gets confidence from that so just because there’s been so little tennis, and then him choosing not to come to New York, obviously he has only played a couple of matches so that makes it more unpredictable.

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“Presumably he would be less confident but he’s proven over and over in best of five sets at the French Open, that’s the toughest task of any player to beat him there so he’s still got that going for him.

“I think Thiem could stay with him, I think the top guys could stay with him, Novak I think and Thiem.”

McEnroe on Djokovic

“Obviously his US Open disqualification was an accident, it was a catastrophe for him. Novak sort of made history so it’s an opportunity that’s gone by the wayside because he was probably going to win the whole thing so it is a wasted chance but how he responded afterwards, he did absolutely the right thing so he set himself up, it’s him and Thiem and Rafa.

“I’m surprised that it doesn’t seem to have affected him that much and that’s shows a lot of strength of character. It’s like a one in a million, so it’s just unfortunate but I think, no, they didn’t have any choice at that time, unfortunately.

“I think he’s very thoughtful, he comes out and says that he wants to make history and be the best of the best, which is putting even more expectation on yourself but he’s embraced that. He’s a deep thinker, he’s continually trying to work on his game. He’s been able to break himself into the two all-time greatest players and be part of that mix where you decide maybe Novak will be the greatest.

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“The fact that people can even say that with Roger and Rafa around shows you how amazing a player he is. He’s always been in the shadow in a way, trying to break into that mix. I respect that, I had that a little myself – Novak is a way better player than I was but I had the same thing with Connors and Borg and trying to get that respect and be thought of in the same way. He’s been able to do that, so that shows you a lot about his character.

“I rate Novak’s chances as highly as high as Rafa’s at the French Open, yes. Normally, you’d go with Rafa but at some point, I mean he’s won it 12 times, but it seems like he’s as well set up as he’s ever been.”

McEnroe on Murray

“I think his goal is to feel like he’s healthy and he can test himself. He proved at the US Open that he could go and play for a long time, he played four hours to beat Nishioka in the first round but then it looked like he was a bit spent. I don’t know whether it was physical or emotional.

“He is about 80% of what he was moving, the question is at the moment is that 20% going to come back? Is he going to be able to dig into the corners, is he going to be able to break out of the corners as quickly as he used to? Maybe that takes time, maybe it takes six months?

“I’m not a doctor but if he stays at 80%, I don’t think you’ll see him play that much longer. But if he is in a process where the body is getting used to what it takes to go the distance, then I would think he could get back to the top ten.”

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