John McEnroe explains why Rafael Nadal is lagging behind Roger Federer in GOAT debate

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

American legend John McEnroe says that Rafael Nadal needs more success away from Roland Garros to compare favourably to Roger Federer.

Nadal is just three Grand Slams behind Federer, despite being five years younger, but 11 of them have come in the French Open, which is seen as a real speciality event given the unique challenges that claycourt tennis presents.

And McEnroe believes it is that which sees Federer edge the debate right now.

“A few years ago, before he got injured several times, his stats were probably better than Roger’s, such as the Davis Cup and Olympics record, and the head to head meetings as well”, McEnroe said.

“It would be different if he wins Wimbledon, or US Open another time, or if he won the Australian Open final (in 2017). These wins would change people’s perspective towards Nadal.”

It wasn’t just Nadal who was on the receiving end of McEnroe’s criticism though, as he told the Guardian of his disgust at the younger players for not stepping up to the mark more and ‘resigning’ themselves to being dominated.

“Listen, tennis is a great sport. But I’m concerned. Roger and Rafa Nadal – the two greatest players of all times, with Novak Djokovic not far behind – are approaching the last year or two of their careers.

“Serena and Venus are too. You can’t expect them to go on forever. And then what?

“Perhaps it’s easy for me to be a backseat driver. But it seems to me like Nadal and Federer are still hungrier than the guys coming through.

“How is that possible? Yes, they are incredible players, so that intimidates a lot of people. But they are taking something from you – so you’d expect their opponents to be angry. I just see too much resignation.”