Rafael Nadal news: ‘Next thing, you know, Rafa is gonna have 22,’ says John McEnroe about Grand Slam race

Rafael Nadal celebrates his Australian Open title

John McEnroe admits he wants Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic all end up on the same number of Grand Slams, but he warns Nadal is likely to open a big gap over his two great rivals in no time.

Nadal edged one ahead of Federer and Djokovic in the race for most majors on Sunday as he beat Daniil Medvedev in a five-set marathon to win a second Australian Open title and a 21st Grand Slam.

The Spaniard’s two contemporaries were quick to send congratulatory messages on social media and former world No 1 McEnroe had goosebumps watching Nadal go to No 21, but feels in an ideal world all three would end up on the same number.

Australian Open comment: Let’s banish the animosity and toast Rafael Nadal’s glory

“What I wanted was that they all end up with the same number,” the American told Eurosport. “It’s okay if they are all at 21 and it’s okay if they are all at 22.

“I’ve already seen that Roger sent out a tweet and Novak – which I think is classy to congratulate him – because that’s what sport is all about.

“What we just watched is what gives people goosebumps, and why you dream about being part of a match like that.

“I am proud as an ex-tennis player that I was able to watch someone do that, I admire that. It made me think wow, I wish I could have tried harder, found a way to do more. It’s really an incredible achievement.”

The French Open is the next Grand Slam on the calendar and it has traditionally been the place where Nadal has dominated as he has won 13 titles at Roland Garros.

However, Djokovic is the defending champion after he defeated Nadal in the semi-final last year, but there are doubts over his participation as he is still not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Federer remains on the sidelines due to a long-standing knee injury.

McEnroe would not be surprised if Nadal moves to No 22 before Djokovic and Federer add to their tally of 20.

He added: “I would never want someone to lose – especially the way that played out, I wouldn’t want that to happen – it just seems like they’re all so great that you sort of want them to tie, but at this point obviously it’s doubtful.

“I think it’s doubtful that Roger’s gonna win another one. How much is he going to play? But then again, you know, we didn’t expect Rafa to do that here.

“With Novak everything’s up in the air at the moment, especially if he’s not playing in the French. The next thing, you know, Rafa is gonna have 22.”