John McEnroe backs Novak Djokovic for win, but feels ‘it would be great for tennis if Stefanos Tsitsipas wins’

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic pre-match routine

John McEnroe is sticking with his pre-tournament prediction that Novak Djokovic will win the Australian Open, but says a Stefanos Tsitsipas victory “will be a very, very good thing”.

Djokovic and Tsitsipas will go head-to-head for the season-opening Grand Slam title at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday and the former is gunning for a 10th trophy at Melbourne Park and a 22nd major title while Tsitsipas is eyeing a maiden Grand Slam.

The Serbian has also won 10 of the 12 matches they have played and he is many people’s favourite to be the last man standing, including former world No 1 McEnroe.

“I picked Novak to win the tournament before the event,” the seven-time Grand Slam winner told Eurosport. “I’m sure a lot of people did. So I won’t switch my pick before the final as my guy is still there (laughter). I have to stick with Novak.

“I will say Novak in four sets will be my pick. I’m hoping for the excitement, even if I will call it in the middle of the night, that this will be a good match.

“Tsitsipas is playing well enough to offer a good match and he’s mentally in a good place. Even when he blew the third set against [Karen] Khachanov, he still won that match easily. But still, it will take him a lot to overcome Novak, maybe too much. Probably too much.”

Victory on Sunday will see Djokovic tie Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slams won and the duo, along with Roger Federer, have dominated the sport over the past three decades.

But the passing of the baton is well underway with Daniil Medvedev winning the 2021 US Open and Carlos Alcaraz claiming the title at Flushing Meadows last year.

Now Tsitsipas is hoping to add his name to the collection and McEnroe says it will be good for tennis.

“I think it would be great for tennis if Tsitsipas wins, I really do,” the American said. “To me, it’s a no-lose situation because if Novak wins, he’ll tie Rafa, we can talk about that on our way to the French Open, what’s gonna happen there, and so on.

“If Tsitsipas wins, it’s like a continuation of what we’ve seen recently with the up and coming players and it will be a very, very good thing because we need some new blood in the men’s game, that’s for sure.”

READ MORE: Stefanos Tsitsipas’ mentality and forehand labelled big weapons ahead of Novak Djokovic final