John McEnroe believes Rafael Nadal is the ‘absolute favourite’ to finish the year as world number one.
In many ways it has been an unusual year on the ATP Tour in terms or rankings. Wimbledon awarded no ranking points, while Novak Djokovic has been denied the chance to defend most of his points from last season due to his vaccination stance.
Daniil Medvedev has been the man to benefit so far, with the Russian currently topping the rankings. Alexander Zverev, who has not played since the semi-finals of Roland Garros, is number two.
Nadal goes into the US Open at number three. However, with him missing the US hardcourt swing last season, he has an opportunity to earn new points rather than merely defend those he has.
"I do think he is the favourite, absolutely," McEnroe said. "I would be surprised if he doesn't [achieve year-end world number one].
"Especially, as it turned out, it would have helped if there was points at Wimbledon for him. But it hurt people like Novak and other players that had done well the previous year.
"He [Nadal] is in a great position to do that, which is amazing considering that he didn't play for six months before that. Rafa does things that you can’t believe that it happened, which is why he's considered the best and up there with the all-time greatest players - you never know what to expect.”
Rafael Nadal heads to New York in an uncertain place following his injury at Wimbledon, but McEnroe believes Grand Slams bring the best out of the Spaniard, so he is expecting a big performance.
"He didn't play the semis at Wimbledon,” McEnroe continued. “He lost against Borna Coric in Cincinnati but Coric went on to win the whole thing, so it doesn't look so bad right now.
"You know that what he cares about is the US Open. With all due respect to Cincinnati, he wasn't too worried about that so at least he got on the court again.
"I don't even know if it's possible right now to catch him, but it would seem very surprising if he wasn't number one."
Rafael Nadal has won two of the three Grand Slams this season, so him earning what would be a sixth year-end world number one crown would certainly be well-deserved.
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