Since returning from a six-month hiatus in
January, the 36-year-old Swiss has been in stupendous form as he
has won five titles, including the Australian Open and
"At the moment we're just assuming that Roger is going to pull
the rabbit out of the hat again," four-times U.S. Open champion
McEnroe said during an ESPN conference call on Wednesday.
"If Roger wins this, it will be one of the great stories in that
last 50 years or ever."
"I saw him today and I said, 'I've got to tell you, hats off.
I've watched tennis for 40 or 50 years and I've never seen
anything like this'."
Chris Evert, the winner of 18 grand slam titles, said she was
equally mesmerized by what Federer has done this year.
"He came back and it was ridiculous," she said. "It was like he
was a different person. It was like his clone has come back,"
One question mark hanging over Federer is his health.
Back pain appeared to limit his mobility during the Rogers Cup
final in Montreal earlier this month, where he fell in straight
sets to 20-year-old German Alexander Zverev.
It was only the third time Federer had lost a match this year
and as a result the 19-times grand slam champion opted to skip
the Cincinnati Masters to tend to the injury.
"I was sitting on the court in Montreal when he tweaked his
lower back and it was really evident that something was wrong
with him," Evert said.
"You never know, he doesn't say much about his injuries and he
made no excuses after the match, but hopefully he's healthy."
Federer will need to be at 100 percent to compete at Flushing
Meadows in the grueling best-of-five-set tournament, where
scorching heat and suffocating humidity are the norm.
Apart from Federer, world number one Rafael Nadal and Briton
Andy Murray, who is coming back from a hip injury that forced
him to skip all the hardcourt tournaments in the run up to the
Open, are the names in the mix as potential winners of the final
major of the season.
If those favorites falter, the tournament is up for grabs,
"It wouldn't be shocking considering that Roger is 36 and he's
had two majors already so perhaps things don't go as smoothly as
they did the other times. And let's say Nadal wasn't around and
Murray wasn't healthy, then it's like, who is going to do it?"
"That's where it really gets open," he said.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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