John McEnroe believes the fact Rafael Nadal coming into the US Open without playing a lot of tennis of late does not stop him from being one of the top favourites for the title.
Nadal has played just one match since withdrawing from Wimbledon with an abdominal tear, meaning he has had precious little chance to play himself into form.
McEnroe, though, has warned that no one should be underestimating the 22-time Grand Slam winner.
"We don’t know where he’s at exactly,” John McEnroe told ESPN of Rafael Nadal.
"What we do know is that he could win this because he just won the Australian Open having not played.
“Rafa is definitely one of the favourites. There’s no question about it. Rafa has as good a chance as anyone to win this, if not more of a chance. The guy’s won 21 majors, what is it, 22 majors? I’m losing track. It’s incredible. We can never write him off."
Nadal has had an unusual season in many ways. He started the season fit and firing as he won the Australian Open. However, he suffered a cracked rib at Indian Wells. He returned to win Roland Garros, although a flare-up of his congenital foot injury left him openly questioning his own future in the sport.
Successful radiofrequency treatment saw allowed him to return at Wimbledon pain-free, only for an abdominal tear to end his run in the semi-finals.
McEnroe, though, is keen to point out that there have always been questions raised about whether Rafael Nadal can overcome physical problems, and he has always ended up dismissing them.
"It’s unbelievable what he’s been able to do,” He said. “We didn’t think he’d be playing this long.
“So, there’s no way to know the answer the question of how long he can play. I’ve never envisioned he would take six months off at 35 and turns around and wins the Australian from two sets to love down in the finals, and then comes through after having barely played and then wins the French at 36-years-old.
"That was less unexpected, obviously, but still nonetheless mighty impressive. And then he was at the semis in Wimbledon and defaults."
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