The legendary John McEnroe gave an interview to the Marca portal. He revealed what Rafael Nadal and LeBron James have in common and explained why Alcaraz will win Roland Garros 2023 in the absence of the king of the event.
This year’s Roland Garros differs from its previous 18 editions. The king of the event is missing from the tournament this year. 14-time Paris Slam winner Rafael Nadal has withdrawn due to injury. This made two topics appear in the media – who will be the new winner and how Roland Garros will manage without Rafael Nadal. There were fears that the event would lose viewership due to the absence of Nadal, who dominated the tournament so much that many flocked to Paris especially for him to see how many more times he could win.
Fortunately, the Paris Slam is doing great without Nadal. The public is attracted by the desire to find out who will replace him and the record set in the 1st round by tennis players in the men’s edition of the tournament. This year’s 1st round featured the most five-set matches in the history of the tournament. As many as 20 of them were played.
On the occasion of the start of the tournament, John McEnroe, the American tennis legend, gave an interview about his observations about this year’s Roland Garros. The American admitted that Nadal’s absence matters a lot because people wanted to see him at his peak and a duel with someone who can oppose him while Nadal is present. They didn’t want to see someone win when the most important player of the tournament wasn’t on the court.
-It is clear that Roland Garros will not be the same without Rafa. It is bad luck that he is not here and it opens the option for others to win. I’m sure Nadal has done everything he could to play and that he didn’t want it to end up like this. That’s why he has already said he wants to retire playing next year. Whatever he does, we must respect him. I give the example of [Andy] Murray, who is still playing but is not the player he was. He wants to retire in his own way and the same goes for Rafa. When he was there you could only talk about him as the favourite. Now there are eight who can win. It is true that [Novak] Djokovic won twice but there are others. The ideal would have been that Rafa was playing at a high level and that someone could show that they are better than him in these circumstances. That’s what people wanted to see. – said McEnroe.
McEnroe likened Nadal to LeBron James, claiming he was never to be taken lightly when asked by reporters if he believed Nadal could come back from injury and win.
-I wouldn’t dare say that he can’t come back and win at Roland Garros after everything he has done there. As long as he keeps playing he will have his chances. It reminds me of LeBron James, who continues to show that he is a great player, but at the end of the matches it takes its toll. There are too many expectations placed on him and he is of an age. And somehow that will happen to Nadal, who will always be expected to do his best. Let’s see what happens because next year he will be 38 years old.- said McEnroe.
Who does McEnroe see as the winner of Roland Garros 2023?
-The tournament is more exciting from the point of view that there will be a new champion unless Djokovic wins again. I guess Djokovic won’t want to fall on Alcaraz’s side. Alcaraz, first, and then Djokovic. We are at the end of an era and others like Carlos and Rune are coming. The Spaniard showed that he is ready, the rest of the youngsters are not ready yet. Alcaraz is the new guy, the one who has brought fresh air, with such electrifying tennis. He has so much personality that everyone wants him to win and I think he feels it. I want him to do well. He’s 20 years old and he’s already earned himself the poster as an ambassador for our sport.- said McEnroe.