John McEnroe Makes U.S Open Picks
John McEnroe is being serious when he says he thinks someone not named Roger Federer will hoist the 2009 U.S. Open trophy. The seven-time Grand Slam winner, who will call the tournament for ESPN2, is looking to a pair of Andys — Roddick and Murray — to dethrone the five-time defending champion. "I think Roddick can beat [Federer]," he tells TVGuide.com. "If he won the second set [at Wimbledon], I think he would've won it. He seems to be fit as he's ever been." Get more of McEnroe's thoughts on the final major of the year below. Plus: What doesn't he want to talk about?
TVGuide.com: You're picking the Andys to win and not Federer. Why?
McEnroe: I think it's a possibility. Maybe I was wrong that Federer let down a little bit.
TVGuide.com: He just won Cincinnati.
McEnroe: That's true! So much for that theory! But I think Roddick, coming off Wimbledon, he can have a lot of support. Murray's playing the best tennis of his life, so I would think Federer will finally get woken up a little bit by his twins and realize he's already broken the record and can relax a little bit. [Laughs] And then maybe someone else can win one. [Juan Martin] Del Potro is the other guy who's playing the best. If he's ready to go five sets, he could beat any of these guys. They're going to make it tough for [Federer].
TVGuide.com: What about Rafael Nadal's chances? He can complete his career Slam here.
McEnroe: Nadal would be great if he did well because he was No. 1 when he got hurt. He can still actually get the No. 1 ranking back, which would be amazing. Considering he struggles here, it may ironically help him were he be able to get into the semifinals or final because he may have fresher legs since he hasn't had as much tennis under the belt. But it's not going to be easy for him to get there. I think he looked reasonably good [in his comeback tournaments.] I think there's still something off. He says his knees are OK, but he wasn't serving as hard.
TVGuide.com: How about the women? Serena Williams can go three for four this year.
McEnroe: It's hard not to pick Serena. She always gets up for the big ones and wants it more. There are plenty of reasons for other players to win, but at the end of the day, I'll be surprised if one of the Williams sisters doesn't win it.
TVGuide.com: Venus hasn't won outside of Wimbledon since 2001.
McEnroe: That's true. But, I mean, if Serena lost, I'd be ill-prepared to pick [Elena] Dementieva over Venus. If you look at the matches she's lost here — [Justine] Henin's not playing anymore, Serena's she's lost to. So it's not like she's lost to a bunch of nobodies. She's No. 3 in the world. She's playing enough to keep herself somewhat fresh. If you said [World No. 1 Dinara] Safina and Venus in the final, I would pick Venus.
TVGuide.com: What about Safina? Can she get the monkey off her back and win a Slam?
McEnroe: Well, she's gotten to three finals and she's better than she was. She's got a lot to be happy about, but if she keeps dwelling on the negative, that can get in her head. You'd think at some point she'll be able to handle it better. I don't know where her head is right now, but she's definitely fragile.
TVGuide.com: And there are the two wild cards: Maria Sharapova sneaking in as a seed and Kim Clijsters literally in as a wild card.
McEnroe: I'm happy for both of them. I hope they do well. I like Sharapova. She competes as hard as anyone. Her new serve — it's sort of a shortened motion, like Roddick's to some extent. It's going to be tough to pull that off. I'm not sure if [her original serve] was affecting her shoulder. Clijsters — it's just good to see someone have a kid like she has and come back. And she's looked pretty good, so I don't think any of the top players want to play her [early].
TVGuide.com: Have you given Kim or Roger any tennis parenting advice?
McEnroe: Nope! [Laughs] I think they'll do fine on their own.
TVGuide.com: Have you talked to Tatum O'Neal since Farrah Fawcett passed away?
McEnroe: Yes, because my daughter went up to college, so we saw each other there and we were able to see our third child off to college, so that was a nice moment.
TVGuide.com: And I'm sure you've heard about Ryan O'Neal hitting on Tatum.
McEnroe: Oh God, I don't even want to talk about it!