Seven-time Grand Slam winner John McEnroe feels that the early loss of the top seeds in both the men’s and women’s fields at the Australian Open is down to a variety of factors.
McEnroe believes that each of the four players failed to make it beyond the Round of 16 while facing their own challenges.
He believes that Australia is always likely to throw up a few more surprises.
“Rafa got hurt, Iga seems emotionally in a different place, not as settled as she was. Ruud, maybe the pressure got to him or he played too many exhibitions,” McEnroe said on the Eurosport broadcast.
“You can look at what each individual player has done and come up with what you think is the answer, but at the end of the day, you don’t know.
“Look at [Andy] Murray, would anyone have thought he would have played to 4:05 in the morning?”
McEnroe believes that tennis needs to do more to ensure players have a proper off-season.
“Ever since Australia changed its date to the first event, players have been trying to figure out the best way to maximise their preparation,” McEnroe added.
“It’s difficult to know [what that is]. It seems that the general attitude is to go out there two to four weeks before. If you do something like that, it impacts what you’re doing over the Christmas holidays, it impacts what you’re doing over New Year’s. It’s a tough commitment.
“Players presumably want more of an off-season, so they can recover mentally and physically, we’ve been talking about that ever since I was Coco’s [Gauff] age . We’re still working and trying to figure out what’s best for the players.
“There’s no definite reason this [the upsets] has happened.”
McEnroe doesn’t make much of the top two seeds in both draws being eliminated from a Grand Slam before the last eight for the first time in the Open era.
“That’s the thing about Grand Slam events,” he said.
“They are unpredictable and that’s also what makes them great in a way, but people like to throw out these stats like, ‘Wow, first time since the top two seeds have not made it’.
“The good news is that I think we are going to see a new injection of fresh blood and new faces, which ultimately will be good for the game.
“Carlos Alcaraz, he’s been an unbelievable breath of fresh air, hopefully he’ll be back soon. Holger Rune is only 19 years old.
“We weren’t talking about Sebastian Korda a whole lot a couple of years ago, or a year ago. So hopefully these stories will become as interesting and as exciting as the ones we’ve grown accustomed to.”
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