Expect Nadal to step it up in Paris, says McEnroe

Thu May 21, 2015 9:06pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Seven-times grand slam John McEnroe knows how it feels when a tennis career starts going in the wrong direction.

That's why he is paying careful attention to Rafa Nadal's current travails as the Spaniard prepares to try and win a record-extending 10th French Open.

At nearly 29, Nadal is already four years older than McEnroe was when he claimed his last grand slam title.

And after a season in which once rare defeats on his favored claycourts have arrived with alarming frequency, no wonder many believe Nadal has reached a tipping point.

McEnroe, however, thinks it is foolhardy to dismiss the Mallorcan as a fading force and fully expects him to find his 'A game' in the days ahead.

"He obviously wants to try to peak for the French," McEnroe, who will form part of Eurosport's commentary team at the championships, told Reuters by telephone on Thursday.

"He was out for a while, he came back, he figured he would work his way back to the sort of level he needs and the confidence level he needs to win again.

"I guess by Madrid or Rome he would at least liked to have won one or two but it's hard not to think that he's gonna take it up to another level (at the French) unless there's physically something wrong with him."   Continued...

Rafael Nadal  in action at the Rome Open tennis tournament in Rome, Italy, May 15, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini