The brother McEnroe, John and Patrick, gave their thoughts on Novak Djokovic’s chances at a first US Open. Despite the Serb’s incredible season, they still don’t see Djokovic as an overwhelming favorite for the New York title.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say overwhelming,” John said during an ESPN US Open conference call this afternoon. “Obvious, yeah, no doubt about it. The guy’s playing amazing. He’s unbelievable. So there is no question about it that he’s a big favorite. When you have guys like Nadal defending the championship and Federer and Murray who I assume should be hungrier than ever and more desperate than ever the way things have been going, I can’t say overwhelming, especially with the pressure that he’ll be feeling, but certainly a big favorite.
“I just want to see Nadal play Federer at the Open,” John added. “So in a way, if it’s the semis, I’m good with that. That would mean whoever won that would be playing with a lot more confidence when and if they had to play Djokovic. But that’s always a dicey situation when you have to play two days in a row to see how that pans out who has a tougher semi.”
Said brother Patrick, “I agree. I don’t think he’s an overwhelming favorite of all. You have two of the greatest players of all time who will be extremely motivated. For Federer it’s been a pretty disappointing year by his standards, so you know he’ll be motivated. And John’s point is most relevant to him as far as the semis or the finals. If he’s got to play Rafa and potentially Novak back‑to‑back at 30, that’s going to be really tough for him.
“But Nadal will be extremely motivated, so he’s going to want to show that he can get back to number one. And if he wins the Open, he’s certainly got a case, depending on how the rest of the year goes to finish number one or at least be in the conversation. But what Djokovic has done this year has just been off the charts. To do what he’s done and win two majors, five straight masters events with Federer and Nadal right there, it’s pretty remarkable. Even saying that, he’s the favorite, but it’s definitely not overwhelming.”
Djokovic has never won the US Open, finishing runner-up twice to Roger Federer and last year to Rafael Nadal. This year, though, he’s yet to lose on hardcourts with a match tonight against American upstart Ryan Harrison at Cincinnati.
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