John McEnroe compares Rafael Nadal to a superhero after Wimbledon win

Kevin Palmer
Rafael Nadal gestures
Rafael Nadal animated

Rafael Nadal looked ready to quit for long periods of his Wimbledon quarter-final against Taylor Fritz, but he found a way to win in a dramatic fifth set tie-break.

Nadal looked poised to withdraw at several points after seeking treatment for an abdominal problem but instead dug in as only he can to secure a 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 (4) win and keep alive his hopes of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slam titles in the same season.

That ambition looked forlorn for long periods in an epic contest on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, with seven-time Grand Slam singles champion McEnroe suggesting the Spanish legend has superpowers to come back from the brink

“He’s like superman or something,” McEnroe told the BBC. “I thought kryptonite had struck because it didn’t look like he was going to finish a couple of times, but he found a way.

“This was a match that for long periods saw Taylor Fritz play some incredible tennis. He is an amazing ball striker. He’s got a huge serve, but Nadal was a genius out there.

John McEnroe Wimbledon commentator
John McEnroe on commentary duties at Wimbledon

“He knows Fritz is not as comfortable at the net and he exposed him out there.

“Nadal tried every trick in the book and in the end he sort of apologised for beating him when he was not 100 per-cent. That’s tough.”

Nadal and his old rival Novak Djokovic have found a way into the Wimbledon semi-finalists once again, with McEnroe suggesting the game’s young guns are struggling to find a way past the game’s enduring champions.

“These guys find a way over five sets,” he added. “This guy and Novak are tough to beat over the long-distance and it’s amazing that Nadal is now just nine games away from a Grand Slam.

“That’s tough on Taylor Fritz. When are these guys going to break through? They don’t want to hear after the match that he’s got a great future and he’s going to win big one day. They want to make it happen and these guys somehow steal it away from them.”