Patrick McEnroe hosted a conference call with Chris Evert on Wesnesday for ESPN ahead of the Australian Open. McEnroe spoke about several interesting things. About Novak Djokovic, McEnroe said: 'I’ll start with the elbow situation and the serve.
Obviously you don’t want to go into your first tournament, first of all being a major. Second of all, you don’t want to go into it with a brand-new stroke of any kind. We’ll have to see how it looks in match play, number one.
He has tinkered with his serve quite a bit over the years. If you remember a number of years ago, he had some sort of serving yips when he was still no. 3 in the world. He was able to iron them out, take over no. 1. If there’s anybody that can tinker with it, probably be successful, it would be him.
More important than that I think for Djokovic is just the overall health of that arm and the elbow going forward. We’re not going to know that, I don’t think he’s going to know that, until he gets out there in competition.' Who is the favourite to win the Australian Open men's title? 'I tell you, it’s amazing.
You turn on the TV, I watch the Hopman Cup, I see [Roger] Federer. It’s just amazing. He just keeps doing it. He looks younger than ever. He’s moving as beautifully as ever. He’s hitting the ball brilliantly. Wins four or five matches at the Hopman Cup against high-level competition.
To me, he’s the clear favorite. You have Rafa [Nadal] who has some injury problems. Obviously Djokovic is a major question mark as far as where he is. The other guys are guys that haven’t broken through. Stan [Wawrinka] is a huge question mark coming off the injury.
Then you look at [Grigor] Dimitrov, [David] Goffin, some of those guys, [Alexander] Zverev, is he ready to step up. I got to tell you, I don’t see anybody that I think right now, if they’re playing Roger in the semi-finals or finals of a major.
He could always get picked off early, then it becomes a little more wide open. But based on what I’ve seen so far, sort of what we saw not just last year but even the tail end of last year, I don’t think there’s anybody else that you could say is a favorite other than Roger at the moment.' McEnroe was also asked about Roger Federer's longevity: 'Let's just continue to appreciate this guy.
The fact that he’s still able to play at this level, quite frankly, I think it’s just one of the most amazing feats I’ve ever seen in any sport. [Pete] Sampras won the US Open and walked away, but up until that time he wasn’t even in contention at a major for a while.
He got lightning in a bottle for two weeks. God bless him, he is an all-time great. But Federer is just a guy who is always there. I think he’s got a God-given gift in what he does. He’s also been extremely smart about taking care of himself.
What he does with his training doesn’t get spoken about a lot, but he works his butt off. He’s changed the way he’s trained in the last five or six years to give himself more longevity. He doesn’t talk about it.
He doesn’t want people talking about it. We all watch him and we think it’s so easy for him. That’s partly true. But it’s also true that he’s really mastered how to pace himself, to care of himself, train for tennis in a way that is absolutely brilliant, and also train his body and his mind.
I was always amazed when he was in his prime, when Djokovic and Nadal started to overtake him a little bit, how he sort of brushed off losses. I was thinking, This guy is going down, never get back to no. 1. He basically was like, "Yeah, it’s no big deal, I lost, I’m getting ready for the next tournament".
Even at the US Open this year when he lost, the first thing he said in the press conference was, I can’t wait to get 100% healthy so I can go to Shanghai early and be ready to win the tournament in Shanghai. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what he did.
It’s just incredible. Let’s just continue to appreciate what he does.' Quotes recognized by Tennis Panorama ALSO READ: 'I take inspiration from Roger Federer,' says famous female swimmer .