John McEnroe On Wimbledon 2005

Roger The Great
06-16-2005, 04:21 AM


Former champion John McEnroe believes Roger Federer is virtually unbeatable as he prepares to defend his Wimbledon crown.

Federer is aiming for a hat-trick of titles at the All England Club when the third Grand Slam of the year gets under way on Monday.

And McEnroe, who also won three singles titles in SW19, believes even a sub-par Federer will be too good for the opposition.

"If he plays well, there's no way he's going to lose," McEnroe said of the world number one, whose unbeaten run on grass stretches to an incredible 29 matches.

"I could see him not playing his best and winning. That's how much better he is on this surface.

"When it gets to like hard courts, then you can throw other guys in the mix, like Marat Safin if he's hot, Rafael Nadal has come into the mix, and hopefully Andy Roddick is going to get back on the right track.

"But I thought Andy played the best match I ever saw him play last year in the final, and Roger didn't play his best, and Roger still won. That just shows you how good he is.

"It's like beating Pete Sampras. It's the same type of situation. It's really, really difficult if he's on his game. And last year he found a way even when he wasn't playing his best."

Sampras won Wimbledon seven times in the space of eight years, his one defeat in that period coming at the hands of eventual winner Richard Krajicek in 1996.

And McEnroe can see Federer enjoying a similar period of dominance, perhaps even equalling Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles.

"When I saw him win the first one, I thought he'd win at least five," McEnroe added. "There's no reason for me to think otherwise at the moment.

"Even for Roger it's going to be difficult to reach 14 (he has four at present). But would it be possible? If there was a guy that could do it, it would be him. Let's put it that way."

There appears to be little hope for the pretenders to the throne but McEnroe feels a player like Nadal could eventually bridge the gap between himself and the top seed.

"I don't think I could match his game, but you just play with as much intensity as possible," he added.

"I mean, if a guy feels that you want it really badly, I think that at least levels the playing field a little bit.

"That's why Nadal is so tough right now, because he plays every point hard.

"He seems completely fearless and he looks like he really loves the competition.

"That's the beauty of being young. He doesn't know better yet.

"That's an incredible weapon and that would be my best bet, just trying to impose a will on the match, because Federer's game is awesome."