I'm glad to see Novak playing in Dubai, says McEnroe

Turning back the clock: John McEnroe (left) and Richard Krajicek in action against Mark Philippoussis and Greg Rusedski. — Expo 2020 Dubai
Turning back the clock: John McEnroe (left) and Richard Krajicek in action against Mark Philippoussis and Greg Rusedski. — Expo 2020 Dubai

Dubai - The tennis legend also spoke in glowing terms about Expo 2020 Dubai



by

James Jose

Published: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 12:11 AM

John McEnroe, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, believes that the older generation will continue to dominate the season despite the emergence of the young guns on the scene.

The 63-year-old McEnroe, who won at the hallowed lawns of Wimbledon in 1981, 1983 and 1984, felt that the likes of world No.1 Novak Djokovic and record-breaking Spaniard Rafael Nadal will rule the roost.

I’m still in the old school like Novak (Djokovic) or Rafa (Nadal),” McEnroe said on the sidelines of the Expo 2020 Tennis Week exhibition matches involving the legends of the game, at the Expo Sports Arena.

The Tennis Week saw an impressive line-up of international stars from the world of men and women’s tennis, including former world No.1 and multiple Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters, 2018 Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki, Greg Rusedski, Richard Krajicek, Mark Philippoussis, Mansour Bahrami and Fabrice Santoro.

And McEnroe, who also dominated the US Open, winning it four times in 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1984, was delighted that Djokovic will making his first appearance this season following the muddy Australian Open saga, when he takes to Centre Court on the opening day of the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championshhips on Monday.

“I’m glad Novak’s here playing again. It’s just hopefully things will be straightened out so that he can do his thing and we’ll see. It’s hard to tell,” he opined.

McEnroe also doffed his hat to Nadal who won a record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open. “Obviously, Rafa pulled off an amazing feat. And I also like, you know, (Daniil) Medvedev, I thought he should have won it (Australian Open). We’ll see how he reacts moving forward and what other guys are going to step up. You know, at that time, these other guys have been winning everything. So, you would think these young guys are getting hungry, they want to win something,” added McEnroe.

Meanwhile, Clijsters defeated Wozniacki 6-4, 2-6, 10-7 in the women’s singles exhibition game.

And while he sees the older guys continuing to joust for Grand Slam success, McEnroe picked out Canadian youngster Félix Auger-Aliassime as one to watch. The 21-year-old from Montreal is currently ranked No.9 in the world.

Well, I like Félix lot, the Canadian, Auger-Aliassime. He seems the sort of the guy that I think was most likely to win from a bunch of them. I think there’s going to be a handful of guys that are going to do it. But right now, he’s making some incredible progress and showing a lot of people that to me, he’s going to be the guy in a few years,” McEnroe felt.

McEnroe was also floored by Expo 2020 Dubai.

“It is overwhelming. I feel like I’m in a small city or something, so it’s incredible. It’s an energy and (there are) lots of things going on, so I don’t know which way to turn. So, it’s pretty cool, haven’t been in an Expo like this before, so it’s got the juices flowing,” he gushed.

“I got to say to Dubai, well done. I thought I had energy, but the energy here is just out of this world,” added McEnroe.

Meanwhile, Clijsters defeated Wozniacki 6-4, 2-6, 10-7 in the women’s singles exhibition game.


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