John McEnroe has hailed Rafael Nadal as ‘the classiest, humblest champion of any sport’ after his fine Australian Open run.
Nadal saw his 2021 season decimated by a foot injury, with him playing just one tournament after the French Open in May.
He has returned to the ATP Tour this season admitting he had low expectations of himself due to the injury, but has played his way into a major final, as well as winning the Melbourne Summer Set earlier this month.
Nadal will now get the chance to pull ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and win a 21st major, and McEnroe admits he is in awe of what the Spaniard has achieved already during the Australian Open.
“I don’t know what it means for the history of tennis, these guys are just incredible what they keep doing,” McEnroe told Eurosport.
“It started out as a complete and utter train wreck with Djokovic when he was down there an all we were talking about was him and how he was the guy who was going to go and make history and break the record but they forgot to mention that Rafael Nadal was there who hasn’t played in six months.
“Who is the last guy who didn’t play for six months and then went on to win the Australian Open? His name was Roger Federer.
“All of a sudden things have fallen into place for Rafa who has to be the humblest, classiest champion of almost any athlete I’ve ever seen in any sport.
“It’s well-deserved for a guy to do this like Rafa Nadal, you can see how much it meant to him to get to the finals again.”
Rafael Nadal will face Daniil Medvedev in the final on Sunday.
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