'Rafael Nadal had to work hard against Felix Auger-Aliassime in Paris,' says McEnroe

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'Rafael Nadal had to work hard against Felix Auger-Aliassime in Paris,' says McEnroe

The fifth edition of the Laver Cup will take place between September 23-25 in London. Team World will try to beat the mighty Team Europe for the first time, and their captain John McEnroe has gathered the first players for the blue squad.

Felix Auger-Aliassime is among them, and he returns to the Laver Cup for the second straight year. McEnroe praised the young Canadian and called him one of the best young guns on the Tour. John mentioned Felix's ATP finals and the fact he pushed Rafael Nadal to the limits at the recent Roland Garros.

In one of his rare five-setters in Paris, Nadal prevailed 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in four hours and 21 minutes for a place in the quarter-final.

John McEnroe praised Felix Auger-Aliassime's effort against Rafael Nadal.

Rafa could have defeated Felix earlier had he converted more break chances, creating 22 and seizing only six.

The Canadian earned five breaks to remain competitive and became the fourth player who kept Nadal on the court at Roland Garros for over four hours. Also, Felix joined Robin Soderling, John Isner and Novak Djokovic on the list of players who took two sets away from Rafa in the Roland Garros clash.

Despite a great effort, the Canadian run out of gas in the decider to propel the 13-time champion through. Rafa grabbed 17 points more than Felix and outplayed him in the mid-range and most extended exchanges. Nadal played on a high level in sets two and three to overcome a slow start and improve his chances.

They served well in the opening six games of the deciding set, and the Spaniard held at love to open a 4-3 gap. Rafa grabbed the crucial break in the following game and sealed the deal with a forehand winner in game nine that propelled him into the last four.

"Felix has had a stand-out season and is one of the leading younger players of the new generation. He has reached many tour-level finals and has the talent to challenge Major champions like Rafael Nadal, who barely beat him at this year's Roland Garros in a five-setter.

His last year's match at the Laver Cup against Matteo Berrettini was one of the most hard-fought and competitive ones we have seen at this event," John McEnroe said.