Exclusive – John McEnroe identifies Novak Djokovic’s greatest quality
Novak Djokovic confirmed his status as the undisputed king of Wimbledon as he claimed his seventh title at the All England Club earlier this month and tennis legend John McEnroe believes his latest win highlighted his greatest quality.
After a year that has seen Djokovic suffer the indignity of being deported from Australia over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and struggle to find his best form, the Serbian confirmed he is still a force to be reckoned with by seeing off Nick Kyrgios in a thrilling Wimbledon final.
Now, in an exclusive interview with Tennis365 to promote his new movie McEnroe, the seven-time Grand Slam winning legend has suggested Djokovic’s mental strength is a quality that sets him apart from his rivals.
Even at times when the fans have been against him, Djokovic has found a way to win and McEnroe empathises with his position as he often struggled to attract popular support during his time at the top of the game.
“Novak hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves, he is a class act,” McEnroe told Tennis365.
“I don’t agree with his decision not to get vaccinated, but I respect it. He is one of the fittest guys in the world and everything he puts into his body, he is watching carefully.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this situation where it has been a train wreck for him. A total debacle. To the point where he way he was thrown out of Australia, are you kidding me?
“The way that all played out was just horrible, so I respect him even more that he has overcome these things. He has to be the most mentally tough player I’ve ever seen on a tennis court.
“(Rafael) Nadal is the greatest effort player, but Djokovic mentally in unbelievable. What he is able to deal with and still to succeed at this extraordinary level.”
McEnroe also suggested it would be “ridiculous” if Djokovic was denied the chance to play at the US Open next month due to his vaccination status.
“We have to sort this out,” he declared. “Djokovic needs to play at the US Open. Please, someone work out how we make this happen because we need this incredible champion there.”
McEnroe went on to concede he contributed to his own bad publicity with his explosive antics on court during his playing days, as he accepts he could have done more to win over tennis fans.
“I would have liked to have had more fans support, but I had a way of ruining that even when they were supporting me,” he added.
“I’d go after someone or do something stupid. I had this incredible ability to have a crowd that were 90 per-cent with me when I walked on the court being 80 per-cent against me. I was like, how did I just do that? It was the worst quality I had.”
McEnroe is in UK & Irish cinemas on 15th July
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