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McEnroe on Nadal: Never Say Never


By Alberto Amalfi | Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Rafael Nadal pulled the plug on Paris this year, but dreams of a Roland Garros farewell next year.

Hall of Famer John McEnroe does not rule out the king of clay winning a French Open farewell in 2024.

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Conceding the Spanish superstar will be 38 years old when the 2024 Roland Garros final is staged and has been hammered by injuries in recent month, McEnroe said given Nadal's 14 French Open championships he will never discount the former No. 1 in Paris.

“I would never say that he couldn't win at Roland-Garros," McEnroe told Eurosport ahead of the network's Roland Garros coverage. "Anyone that's done what he's done, as long as he stepped foot on a court would have a great chance."

Tennis Express

Former world No. 1 McEnroe says he sees Nadal's situation similar to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James in that both superstars are still capable of an elite level of play, but both are also burdened by the weight of expecation amid advancing age.

“[Rafa] reminds me a lot of Lebron James. LeBron James is a little bit older and is part of a team, but I think he proved he was still a fantastic player," McEnroe told Eurosport. “But you know, maybe at the end of those [season-end] games he got a little tired because too much was expected from him.

"And at some point, that's what's gonna happen to Rafa, it happens to everybody, you're going to be asking too much."



Ultimately, time is the only undefeated opponent in tennis and McEnroe says Nadal's career clock is winding down.

“So it's hard to know, at this point. By the time he [Nadal] plays next year, if he plays, he'd be 38 years old during the tournament,” McEnroe said.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

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