Talking with Evert and McEnroe about Wimbledon

Two great, retired players, John McEnroe and Chrissy Evert, did a conference call on Tuesday, with ESPN. They were taking about Wimbledon, which starts Monday. Obviously, they have a lot of opinions. When they are talking on TV, they have some excellent comments. They are totally addicted to the Grand Slams and the other huge events, too.

Before the events start, they will list many people who can win the major or go very deep. As they know, when play starts, even the best players can be very nervous, or erratic, or calm, or nailing winners.
Here are four comments:

Evert about Serena Williams: How good will she be?
“That’s the question everybody’s been asking. Like Roger Federer, Serena’s best chance is on the grass obviously because of all the Grand Slams because of her power, because of her big serve, the first strike of the ball, shorter rallies. She’s won the most of any current player on grass. She has had the most experience and wisdom and instincts on the grass courts of any current player. 

“In saying that, I also have to say that if ever the field was at its most vulnerable, I would think it would be this year with the injuries, with the lack of grass court practice. This is to me her golden opportunity. 

“The big challenge for her in my mind will be stringing together seven matches where she plays at a high level mentally and physically. That’s always, for the aging athlete, the big thousand-dollar question: Can they string together seven high-quality matches? It’s physically, mentally staying healthy, staying involved with each match, staying present with each match.”

McEnroe on Djokovic, who won the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year: Can he win the Grand Slam (all four majors in one year)?
“Novak is biggest obstacle to me is if his body holds up through this. It looks amazing. He looked phenomenal. He’s halfway home. He won the tougher one. He’s the best player that ever lived, I would say, on hard courts. If he’s able to maintain his health through this, I think he’s got a great shot at winning the Slam.”

Evert about the young player Coco Gauff, who is she evolving:
“In a sense it’s been kind of gradual. I’m glad she hasn’t won a Grand Slam title thus far because then things would have gotten out of control if she would have done that at a young age. 

“Personally, I think if her game continues to evolve like it has, she could be the biggest thing in tennis by the end of the year. I believe that she could be the biggest thing in tennis at the end of the year with some great results. 

“At the same time, I don’t want to be like press building her up because then there’s more pressure on her. 

“I was amazed. I watched her play every tournament on clay. She started out a little slow. She beat some really quality players. Should have won the quarterfinal match at the French Open. She’s only 17. She’s got the game. She’s got the power. She’s got tremendous composure. You can tell it in her eyes, she wants it badly. There’s every indication she has the mental side and the skill set side to win a Grand Slam, to be No. 1 eventually. Now it’s just the waiting game. “

McEnroe on the controversial Nick Kyrgios, who decided not to play on clay, and he hasn’t played since January at the Australian Open.
“Nick? I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t play the clay. I was very surprised not to see him get to England earlier, or whenever he would go, to play a couple tune-up events considering he hasn’t played since Australia. That sort of worries me. Not that he can’t come out and hit 40 aces. I just have no idea what his conditioning is. The obvious questions: Where is his head at, the questions that we ask normally are magnified because he hasn’t played.”
“No one wants to play him first round, I can assure you that. But he’s going to be unseeded. He’s like [61] in the world. It’s unbelievable that he’s a guy that talented with that ranking at this present time. 

“I like Nick. He can be great for the game, but at the same time I don’t think even he could expect to just waltz his way in and suddenly pull off some incredible run. Maybe he’s doing something I’m unaware of as far as training. If he just left, he’s going to get there a couple days ahead of time. Well, I hope he’s ready to play. Let’s just put it that way.”