“More Vulnerable”: John McEnroe Believes Rafael Nadal Is Less Confident at French Open 2020

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In the highly challenging tennis world, there is one constant at every French Open; Rafael Nadal is the downright favorite. This is an expectation he set very early on in his career, and which he has lived up to ever since. However, among the many firsts this year is that the French Open 2020 will probably be Nadal’s most vulnerable year in Paris. Many current and former top players have given their opinions on this, including John McEnroe.

The nine-time Grand Slam winner believes that Nadal is vulnerable this year. “I just think because of the situation, the world-wide pandemic, that makes him more vulnerable. I think Rafa is a player who likes to get some matches in under his belt and gets confidence from that so just because there’s been so little tennis, and then him choosing not to come to New York, obviously, he has only played a couple of matches so that makes it more unpredictable,” McEnroe opined.

Rafael Nadal at French Open 2020
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his first round match against Belarus’ Egor Gerasimov REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

What works in favor of Rafael Nadal?

Despite his reservations on Nadal’s form, McEnroe expressed that one of the toughest tasks would be to beat Rafael Nadal over five sets at Roland Garros. He said, “Presumably, he would be less confident. But he’s proven over and over in best of five sets at the French Open, that’s the toughest task of any player to beat him there. So he’s still got that going for him.

Rafael Nadal at French Open 2020
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – September 28, 2020 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his first round match against Belarus’ Egor Gerasimov REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Can Djokovic and Thiem make use of this opportunity?

The 1984 French Open finalist, McEnroe, feels that Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem can seriously challenge the Spaniard this year. “I think Thiem could stay with him. I think the top guys could stay with him, Novak I think, and Thiem,” the 61-year-old added.

Dominic Thiem at the French Open 2020
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – September 28, 2020 Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action during his first round match against Croatia’s Marin Cilic REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Rafael Nadal put up a strong performance in the first round of the French Open 2020, and this might quell some doubts. However, there is still a long way to go in the event. Nadal will face Mackenzie McDonald in the next round. Meanwhile, Djokovic and Thiem have started off strong as well.

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