Andy Murray can be like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal when he returns to full fitness, says John McEnroe
- John McEnroe says Andy Murray will be back among the best by 2019 US Open
- The American legend says Murray can do so as long as he is close to full fitness
- He can look to the longevity of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for inspiration
- The 31-year-old Scot is currently in Miami preparing for the Australian Open
John McEnroe believes that Andy Murray will be back among the world’s elite by the 2019 US Open – providing he is close to full fitness when he makes his latest comeback next month.
The 31 year-old Scot is currently in Miami preparing for the Australian Open and McEnroe, in London to play at the Royal Albert Hall this week, suggests he can look to the longevity of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for inspiration.
All naturally depends on the great unknown, which is how Murray’s hip will hold up when subjected to the rigours of competing in full competition after his months spent at a rehab centre in Philadelphia.
John McEnroe says Andy Murray will be back among the best by 2019 US Open
The American legend believes Murray can do so as long as he is close to full fitness
‘He was able to be one of the best players of the last 10 years and winning majors by his athletic ability,’ said McEnroe.
‘If he’s at 100 per cent or close to it I would expect he would be in the top 10 within six to nine months. But if he’s at 80 per cent, that’s a totally different person.
‘Looking at what Federer did at 36, looking at Nadal. Djokovic suddenly was the old Djokovic this year, so I’m sure he looks at those guys and thinks: ‘I should be able to do something akin to that’.’
It is Kyle Edmund who starts the year as clear British number one, but he will have to cope with the situation of defending a large points haul from this year’s opening Grand Slam, when he reached the semi-final.
The 31-year-old can look to the longevity of Roger Federer (pictured) for inspiration
‘I think it’s realistic that he can be in the top 10, but he’ll be feeling pressure early on in the season and his ranking will drop out of the top 20 if he doesn’t do well there,’ said McEnroe. ‘He has to handle that emotionally, knowing there’s a full year ahead.’
The American legend hopes that Alex Zverev’s upset of Djokovic in the ATP Finals last month will herald, at last, a sustained challenge from the younger generation in men’s tennis.
‘I believe there are three to five guys who have the necessary tools, a lot of it being belief and physical fitness to go to that level to go deep.
‘It’s a bit overdue, and I’m hopeful we’ll see a couple of new guys winning Majors, like (Stefanos) Tsitsipas, (Karen) Khachanov, Zverev and Borna Coric, but none have stepped up yet.’
He hopes Alex Zverev’s win over Djokovic will herald a challenge from the younger generation
Nick Kyrgios is not included in that list, and there is even the fear that he might not last too long in the game.
‘He’s got to embrace what he’s doing for a living, become a professional on and off court because he’s a good kid and people like him. Out of maybe all the players in the last 10 years on pure tennis ability, he could be the best.
‘But half the time he’s not competing – how in the world can you win a big event if you’re not competing half the time? If he doesn’t overcome that, he’s not going to be in tennis in a couple of years.’
John McEnroe will be appearing at Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall on December 6 & 7. Tickets at www.championstennis.co.uk
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