Novak Djokovic may be going into next week’s start of the US Open without his usual title rivals on hand, but the Serb must be careful of one potential enemy,
According to ESPN commentator John McEnroe, the world No. 1 will need to beat the traditional steamy late summer heat if he’s to follow the formbook into his fourth title in New York.
“I would say that his main threat is the heat,”: the former player and current TV talking head said. “That could affect him more than any other opponent.”
Djokovic leads the potential trophy list with both Roger Federer (knee) and Rafael Nadal (foot) out injured. holder Dominic Thiem is also missing as he heals a wrist problem.
Mac lists the usual group of young suspects as possible threats to the 34-year-old Djokovic: “Daniil Medvedev could be the one that complicates things the most.
“Another player to consider is (Canadian Denis) Shapovalov, (who) created some problems for Djokovic at WImbledon (semi-finals) but at the moment of truth he was not fine.
“I can’t forget players like (Alexander) Zverev or (Stefanos) Tsitsipas. Everyone can fight Novak, although I think that the Serb is a couple of steps above the rest.”
McEnroe is quick to write off the Djokovic temper tantrums at the Tokyo Olympics, where he lost the bronze medal match to Pablo Carreno Busta and then refused to play the mixed doubles final as he pouted.
The American bad boy who set the template for poor behavior in the 1970s, said Djokovic was not really to blame.
“Playing without an audience and the heat influenced his game. But I know he is going to give everything in New York.
“Obviously anything can happen in tennis, but I see him as a clear favorite for to win the tournament and thus get the four Grand Slams in the same year, something that has not been done since Rod Laver in 1969.”
The old pro said Djokovic will be under all of the pressure once play gets underway at Flushing Meadows next week.
“With the (absence) of Roger and Rafa, all the attention is going to be on him. That is not easy by any means.
Obviously this opens the doors to players like Medvedev, Zverev or Tsitsipas who will have the great opportunity to be able to play a Grand Slams final.
“That we have an audience in the stands again will help the show and for the players to grow and give their best. “
Main photo:-ESPN Commentator John McEnroe at Wimbledon – by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd