Tennis legend John McEnroe has given his thoughts on Rafael Nadal's fitness and his potential mindset coming into Wimbledon.
The 36-year-old has suffered from chronic foot issues in recent years – and the injury flared up again as he won a 14th French Open title. The 22-time Grand Slam singles champion would subsequently travel to Barcelona after that win to begin radiofrequency treatment, which numbs the nerves on a temporary basis.
“Rafa's toughest one [Grand Slam] is going to be this one to me because if you go by what he said at the French, he was injecting himself in his foot during some, if not all, of his matches,” McEnroe said, speaking on a video conference as part of his work for ESPN.
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“I'm not sure how he did it in the first place, and he's still able to win seven matches and look incredible, right? The guy looked amazing.
“If I'm 36, I don't know how much longer I'm going to play, going for the Slam, I'd start shooting that foot up again and get through Wimbledon and the [US] Open. That would be me.
“He may be able to play a few more years. He also talked about wanting to be able to walk when he had kids. That's a risk that no athletes want to take.”
He added of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic: "He's been trying to get it back. So, it's sort of set up at least for him now to hopefully get his act back together. I'm not 100 per cent sure.
"I think he's the heavy favourite, but I think there are opportunities for players that you probably wouldn't have thought could win it, and also a couple of people that could win it.
“Novak hopefully will play his best because it would be a shame that this continuation of what this debacle in Australia would continue to affect him. It's also tough after the year he had to back that up.
"Let's face it, it's pretty hard to do what he did last year, come up that one match, not be somewhat deflated or make it more difficult to accomplish those types of feats again.”
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On Roger Federer, McEnroe said: "Twenty years, you got to look at the bright side. You had a lot of time where you got a chance to watch this guy play and win it numerous times.
"So, we have to sort of hope that whatever he decides he's happy with. He's 40. He's made it this far. It's amazing.
"Roger Federer is a living legend. We all know that. He's the epitome of what you would want your kid to be when they grow up.
"He is the most beautiful player I've ever watched play. I idolised [Rod] Laver. He is kind of an updated Laver to me."
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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