Patrick McEnroe talks with The Post’s Justin Terranova about World Cup fever in England, Serena Williams’ Wimbledon return and the chances for a Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal men’s final.
Q: What has the reaction to the World Cup been like over there?
A: We had it on here in our booth Tuesday and all of our English boys weren’t paying too much attention to their jobs, too busy watching the football. Chris Fowler and Brad Gilbert did spend some time in one of the Wimbledon pubs to give a blow-by-blow. They said it was pretty tame compared to other parts of England, but they were still going pretty hard and got doused by beers.
Q: What level of difficulty would it be for Serena to win here?
A: This challenge is unlike any she has ever faced and she’s faced a lot of them over the years. Can she move quickly and be explosive is the biggest question for me because that’s what is needed on grass. I like the way she’s looking. I don’t think she’s at 100 percent but she can win this tournament at 80 percent.
Q: Ten years ago, Federer and Nadal had their classic Wimbledon final. Did you ever think we’d be talking about them as favorites here a decade after that?
A: No, that’s crazy. The way the game is going: Guys are bigger, moving quicker and hitting the ball harder, so the fact that they are still here and have just basically dominated again for the last couple of grand slam seasons is amazing. It’s a testament to how good they are and how (well) they are at taking care of their bodies. It’s also a little bit of a knock on these younger guys who are coming up and aren’t really up to the challenge of stepping up and taking it from them.
Q: Was there a point where you doubted Novak Djokovic would be able to return to top form?
A: Any time you have a player who is that good, the question to me is motivation. He had some personal issues that he sort of referenced and then obviously he had the issue with his elbow. But anybody who’s that good, who’s won 12 majors and (dominated) the game, he is going to come back unless something absolutely drastic happens. I expect him to win a couple of more majors.
Q: What is standing in the way of American Frances Tiafoe’s breakout?
A: He’s getting better and more mature. He’s got a couple of hiccups with his technique and his serve, but those are improving. He’s getting more professional in his approach, watching his diet more and taking care of his body. That experience he’s getting will help, but clearly when you look at the young American guys, he has the most upside because physically he’s the most gifted.