'Right Now He Seems More Human': McEnroe Assesses Djokovic's 2024 Season

'Right Now He Seems More Human': McEnroe Assesses Djokovic's 2024 Season

by Nurein Ahmed

On the eve of Novak Djokovic's opening match at the 2024 Roland Garros, veteran commentator John McEnroe evaluated the defending champion's current season.

Djokovic will begin his title defense on Tuesday night against French wild card Pierre-Hugues Herbert. It is the pair's first meeting in a decade. The Serb won their lone head-to-head clash at the 2013 Paris Masters in straight sets.

The top seed has not won a single title in 2024, which is quite unusual for a player who has set such high standards and is coming off a record-setting season just six months ago. Failure to win Roland Garros would equal his longest trophyless drought.

McEnroe spoke to the media at Roland Garros, where he shed light on the world No. 1's current struggles. The 65-year-old could not conclusively point out the major limitation that has been holding Djokovic back in 2024, which he reckons has reduced him to his human powers.

"I don’t know what’s wrong with him, if it’s because of a physical issue, motivation, age, distractions outside of tennis. Right now, he seems more human. It’s the most open Roland Garros in the last 20 years."

In a tournament that is already reeling from Rafael Nadal's historic defeat in the first round on Monday, losing the top seed and three-time champion Djokovic in successive days would be borderline unthinkable and absurd.

According to legendary former player McEnroe, this is the most open French Open in the last two decades, largely because several of the top players who would normally contend for the title are not in good form. At the same time, the lesser-ranked players have grown in self-belief.

"I do believe this is the most open tournament in years. Especially with the uncertainty with a lot of the top players. It’s sort of exciting from a commentator’s point of view. I’m sure it’s very stressful for the players, especially the top players, if they don’t know where they are."

"Obviously, if everyone was healthy you’d have three or four heavy favourites. So at least it opens the door for some other players that wouldn’t normally think they have a shot. There are a couple of Americans doing pretty well. Maybe they get more belief, because they’re coming in healthy. It opens the door for some other players."


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