US Open champion Rafael Nadal is playing better than ever, according to seven-time Grand Slam winner John McEnroe.
Nadal has bounced back from an injury-ravaged 2012 campaign in spectacular fashion, winning two Grand Slam titles to take his career tally to 13 and put himself at the forefront of men’s tennis once again.
The 27-year-old’s French Open success was to be expected, but when he crashed out in the early stages of Wimbledon there were once again concerns about his fitness.
However, Nadal has answered those concerns in style by winning all 22 of his hard court matches, and he registered his second Grand Slam success of the year when he beat world number one Novak Djokovic in Monday’s US Open final.
Nadal’s 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1 success was a warning shot to his rivals for the 2014 season, and McEnroe believes Djokovic, Andy Murray and Co have plenty to fear because the Spaniard is in the form of his life.
“To me he's better than ever,” McEnroe told BBC Radio 5 Live. “He's moving better; it was amazing to see how much he wanted it. His will to win, I've never seen anyone like it.
“It's amazing because he was watching on TV [last year]. We were worried about his career, then he doesn't play Australia, and all of a sudden he comes back. For a while, we're still thinking is he going to be able to come all the way back?
“He wins the French, but that's expected in a way, but he looked like his old self. When he lost in the first round of Wimbledon, I started worrying again. I thought the knee was bothering him, but he comes back and wins both hard-court events [Montreal and Cincinnati].”
Now there has been plenty of debate about whether or not Nadal will pass Federer’s record of 17 Grand Slam titles, and McEnroe believes the Spaniard can eclipse that mark if he manages to stay healthy over the next few years.
“I think if he stays healthy he can easily win four or five more, no doubt about it,” he added. “Let's hope that he stays healthy because it would be great for our sport - and somebody's going to have to step up!”