McEnroe: Nadal, Serena have to beat themselves in Paris
Published in USA Today Sports, May 20, 2013. For original article, click here to go to the website.
John McEnroe unsurprisingly agrees with the conventional wisdom about who will win the French Open.
Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal, of course, McEnroe said on a conference call for Tennis Channel looking ahead to the French Open, which begins Sunday in Paris.
But he won’t completely rule out an upset.
“I mean it’s been done before,” McEnroe said of heavy favorites riding incredible hot streaks entering a major. “I’ve done it myself, but you sort of have to beat yourself. The level (Serena’s) at when she’s playing well, I don’t think anybody can beat her. Anybody, no matter great they are, everybody has bad days.”
And of Nadal:
“Unless something happens that’s unforeseen, it would be pretty hard-pressed to make an argument for anyone other than (Novak) Djokovic to beat him,” McEnroe said. “It’s similar to Serena. It’s possible because maybe mentally he’ll have a slight letdown because he’s won it so many times, and maybe there will be that day where he has that off day.”
Nadal and Williams are both coming off dominant victories in Rome.
Nadal has won six titles in eight events (reaching the final in all eight) since returning in February from a knee injury. He has moved up to No. 4 in the world rankings.
“You could make the argument that he is the greatest player that ever lived,” McEnroe said
On the comeback from injury, McEnroe said: “I’m very impressed he’s able to come back as strong as he has. It’s like he never missed a beat, which is amazing. When he left, we didn’t know he was hurt. I didn’t see it. I was doing the match when he lost in the second round of Wimbledon. I didn’t see an indication that his knee was as bad, that he wouldn’t play for seven months.”
Williams has won four consecutive titles and a career-best 24 matches in a row. She will be the top seed next week trying to avenge a first-round loss in Paris a year ago and win at Roland Garros for only the second time.
Williams apparently agrees with McEnroe. She said Sunday, following her win in Rome: “The lady in the mirror is the ultimate opponent for me.”