"I don't know what's wrong with Novak Djokovic" - John McEnroe on Serb ahead of his French Open 2024 debut

John McEnroe on Novak Djokovic
John McEnroe on Novak Djokovic's French Open 2024 prospects (Source: GETTY)

John McEnroe gave his thoughts on Novak Djokovic's slump in form this year. The American is apparently oblivious to whether the Serb is going through physical niggles, motivation issues or changing priorities at the age of 37.

Djokovic is in the middle of his worst ATP Tour season since 2006, when he was yet to occupy the top rungs of men's tennis. The World No. 1 hasn't reached the final of any tournament that he has entered, dropping six of his 20 matches in 2024.

Thus, Novak Djokovic comes into this year's claycourt Major in subpar form. He suffered upsets by Alejandro Tabilo in the third round of the Italian Open and Tomas Machac in the semifinals of the Geneva Open. He opens his campaign in Paris against local favourite Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Tuesday, 28 May.

John McEnroe spoke to French media about the 24-time Major winner's prospects ahead of his Roland-Garros title defense. The seven-time Major winner believes that the top seed needs someone in his team to push him to achieve a good result this fortnight.

"I don’t know what’s wrong with him, if it’s because of a physical issue, motivation, age, distractions outside of tennis," John McEnroe said about Novak Djokovic (via Tennis365). "Right now, he seems more human. It’s the most open Roland-Garros in the last 20 years."
"No one can teach him how to play tennis, I think he needs someone at his side who knows how to motivate him," he added. "[Players] pay much more attention to the Majors than in my time. We cared about the balance of the entire year."

John McEnroe believes Novak Djokovic is defending "the most open Major tournament in years"

Novak Djokovic beat Casper Ruud to win last year's French Open title
Novak Djokovic beat Casper Ruud to win last year's French Open title

John McEnroe insisted that this year's French Open has a wide array of contenders because of the top players' physical issues. The likes of Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev have all had injuries of some sort over the European claycourt swing, giving the rest of the top 10 a considerable shot at going deep in Paris.

"I do believe this is the most open [Major] tournament in years. Especially with the uncertainty with a lot of the top players," John McEnroe said. "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," he added. "So at least it opens the door for some other players that wouldn’t normally think they have a shot."

The 65-year-old also talked up the chances of American male players such as Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul on the terre battue.

"There are a couple of Americans doing pretty well. Maybe they get more belief, because they’re coming in healthy," the American said. "It opens the door for some other players."

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