Former World No. 1 John McEnroe continued to provide quote-worthy comments at the Statoil Masters this week, this time claiming that British No. 1 Andy Murray would be competitive if he returns to the Australian Open at 100% health and may even challenge for the title.
“If he’s healthy, he is going to be one of the guys who can go the distance [in Australia].”said McEnroe, who is playing in the Masters at the Royal Albert Hall this week.”
Murray has been sidelined from the tour following minor back surgery performed in September. The Brit opted for surgery after leading Great Britain into the World Group with a win over Croatia. Since then he has missed the entire Asian swing, and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, bringing his ranking down to World No. 4.
McEnroe thinks that the time off following the disappointing US Open run could be the best thing that happened to Murray as he needed to regroup and motivate himself.
“It’s going to be unpredictable when you haven’t played. But you could make the argument that it could help him.I think mentally, he was a little whipped at the [US] Open, he needed to regroup – it had been an incredible but crazy 12 months for him.”
McEnroe makes the argument that the long absence could actually benefit Murray mentally as it did for Rafa in his comeback this year. The Spaniard won 2 Grand Slam title, five Masters 1000 titles and regained the no. 1 ranking for the first time since 2010.
“Now he’s had a chance to hopefully get things right with his back. And if that’s not right, it’s going to be tough.Maybe he’s going to have to think longer term, but hopefully he’ll come out firing the way Nadal did.”