John McEnroe says ‘you would be crazy to bet against Rafael Nadal’ after ‘extraordinary level’ in last eight

Rafael Nadal delighted

John McEnroe believes it will take a brave person to wager against Rafael Nadal when he takes on Alexander Zverev in the semi-final at Roland Garros.

Nadal produced a performance “for the ages” against world No 1 Novak Djokovic on Tuesday as he defeated the defending champion 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(7-4) in four hours and 12 minutes to stay on course for a record-extending 14th French Open crown.

What made the “emotional” Spaniard’s victory even more remarkable was the fact that he has been struggling with a foot injury and came into the Grand Slam with only a couple of matches under his belt on the clay this year.

“I am very emotional, thank you, thank you everyone,” Nadal said after the match.

“It was incredible for me. It was so important for the crowd to be behind me. It was really special. It was a very tough match, Novak is one of the best players in history, and all the history we have.

“There is only one way to beat Novak and that is to play at your best. See you in two days, that’s all I can say.”

Seven-time major winner McEnroe was dumbfounded by the 35-year-old level.

“Well, I would say I have made the mistake a couple of years ago thinking the colder conditions would hurt him against Novak,” McEnroe said during his Eurosport commentary stint of the Marin Cilic-Andrey Rublev quarter-final clash.

“Now, it seems like you would have to be crazy to bet against him [Nadal]. His birthday is Friday, when he plays Zverev.

“He will be 36, and I’m not sure that I have seen him play better than what I witnessed last night.

“I’m sure there has been close, and there have been a number of times where he has played at an extraordinary level.

“That was one for the ages! If that had gone five [sets], I might have slept here in the booth. It ended at 1:15am. Certainly, a lot of fans here not forgetting.”