McEnroe puts his money on Federer

It will take a huge effort to stop Roger Federer’s momentum on grass as the Swiss standout bids for a third straight Wimbledon title.

That’s the thought of old pro John McEnroe, three times a holder at the All England Club.

The 46-year-old, who is never short of an opinion, had little hesitation in voicing his view on Sunday prior to playing an exhibition against 2001 Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic to close out the Stella Artois event at Queen’s club.

“As far as Roger—if he plays well, there’s no way he’s going to lose.

“When I saw him win the first one [in 2003 over Mark Philippoussis] I thought he’d win at least five. There’s no reason for me to think otherwise at the moment.”

McEnroe tips Andy Roddick and even Spain’s teenage French Open champion Rafael Nadal as players who will possibly give Federer a workout.

“Hopefully Andy is going to sort of get back on the right track. He seems to have levelled off this year.
But I thought he played the best match I ever saw him play last year in the final, and Roger didn’t play his best, and Roger still won.”

But the American is far from keen on the chances of Britain’s Tim Henman.

For McEnroe, the four-time Wimbledon semifinalist doesn’t stand out as a trophy contender in the face of the current competition.

“How is Henman gonna win it? Well, if Roger loses to someone or plays poorly.

“But I could see him not playing his best and winning. That’s how much better he is on this surface.”

McEnroe isn’t sure about Federer’s chances to eventually duplicate the 14 Grand Slam titles of Pete Sampras—but he doesn’t rule it out either.

“It’s very difficult, obviously, to win seven [at Wimbledon] and 14 overall. But would it be possible?

“If there was a guy that could do it, it would be him. Let’s put it that way.”

Despite the 19-year-old Nadal’s highly polished sheen on clay, the talent-spotting Mac says the Spanish talent also has his future chances on grass.

“It’s great for tennis, Nadal seems so eager. And he’s proven he can play some pretty good tennis on hard courts (challenging Federer in a five-set the Miami final).

“It remains to be seen what he can do right now on grass. I don’t think he’s ready for a major breakthrough on grass, but it’s a good shot in the arm for the sport because the way he plays, he loves playing and he’s really enthusiastic.”

He added: “Nadal is so tough right now, because he plays every point hard. He seems completely fearless and he looks like he really loves the competition.

“That’s the beauty of being young. He doesn’t know better yet.” ‒ Sapa-DPA

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