John McEnroe said Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open triumph was “mighty impressive” and that’s one of the reasons why the Spaniard can’t be underestimated going into the US Open. After skipping almost the entire second half of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, Nadal returned to action by winning the Australian Open.
At the time, it was a record 21st Grand Slam title for Nadal. “As far as Rafa, it’s unbelievable obviously what he’s been able to do. You hit the nail on the head. We didn’t think he’d be playing this long.
So, the answer of how long could he play, there’s no way to know the answer to that either. I’ve never envisioned he would take six months off at 35 and turns around and wins the Australian from two sets to love down in the finals and comes through after having barely played and then wins the French at 36,” McEnroe told ESPN.
“That was less unexpected, obviously, but still nonetheless mighty impressive. And then he was at the semis in Wimbledon and defaults.”
McEnroe on Nadal’s US Open chances
Nadal has played just one match going into the US Open.
After being sidelined for a month and a half due to an abdominal injury, Nadal made his return last week at the Cincinnati Masters. There, Nadal suffered a shock defeat to Borna Coric in his opening match. “We don’t know where he’s at exactly here,” McEnroe added.
“What we do know is that he could win this because he just won the Australian Open having not played. Doesn’t mean just because he only played one match with (indiscernible) — didn’t do too bad after all in Cincinnati, won the whole thing.
Rafa is definitely one of the favorites. There’s no question about it. Obviously, we’ll find out if Novak is playing. Then it’s going to be where the seedings are and what the draw looks like. But Rafa has as good a chance as anyone to win this.
If not more of a chance, obviously. The guy’s won 21 majors, what is it, 22 majors? I’m losing track. It’s incredible. We can never write him off.”