Former seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe has acknowledged that more attention will be on Novak Djokovic at this year’s US Open because of the fact that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will not be playing.
Nadal is out for the rest of the season due to a foot injury, while Federer announced a third knee surgery.
“As far as Djokovic goes, obviously with Roger and Rafa not being here at the event, it’s going to put even more attention on him and his quest for the slam. That’s not going to make it any easier,” McEnroe told ESPN Press Room.
“Obviously it does open the doors for the Zverevs, Medvedevs, Tsitsipases of the world. Thiem isn’t even here. He won it last year. It’s strange times still.
“Hopefully it’s going to have tons of fans. I mean, everyone’s got their fingers crossed. It’s going to be better obviously for everyone if it does, including Novak, who I think was negatively affected by that in Tokyo. But I still think he’s going to do it.
“It’s easier said than done, like Pam said. There’s a reason it hasn’t been done in 50 something years. It’s tough. It’s really tough. We’ll see how he handles it. He handles it about as well as anyone I’ve ever seen in the last five, 10 years of his career. I think he’s ready for the moment.”
Djokovic the top favorite to win the US Open
Nadal and Federer aren’t the only big names missing from this year’s US Open as defending champion Dominic Thiem also won’t play at Flushing Meadows this year.
Former world No. 1 McEnroe was asked who’s Djokovic’s biggest threat at the US Open.
“It’s difficult to say who of those guys, whether it’s Zverev, Tsitsipas, Medvedev, those are the obvious ones that come to mind for me, who would be in best position to do that. I couldn’t predict. I would say it would be one of those three players, if it was,” McEnroe said.