John McEnroe

The American legend, John McEnroe explained where the ‘NextGen’ tennis players are lacking and what is stopping them from making a breakthrough in the big tournaments of the ATP Tour. He began with speaking about Nick Kyrgios and he firmly believes, Kyrgios’ cannot make deep runs in the Grand Slam tournaments.

“I think Kyrgios’ had a difficult time getting himself in the type of condition where he could go the distance. He’s talked about it. He doesn’t train hard. I think he’s training harder. You have to take it to the stratospheric level. Physical part is a big part,” said John McEnroe.

He further elucidated how Roger Federer maintains his temper under tough situations of the match and he rarely hurls with the match officials over small issues. He preserves his energy and invests it while playing big points.

The aggressive lefty on the men’s tour, Rafael Nadal steps on the practice courts with an attitude of a learner. He continuously works on his game and looks into the scope of improvement.

John McEnroe

“Look how calm Roger keeps himself in think situation. That’s a talent, you save energy, don’t waste energy. Rafa Nadal seems to have boundless energy. Guess what, he’s training as hard or harder than anyone. Novak Djokovic has a combination of what the two have. On the court, the stress that can cause fatigue,” McEnroe added.

McEnroe pointed out the domains where these budding players are falling short and mentally they are miles away from the ‘Big Three’ of tennis. “That’s a thing that a lot of kids find out when they’re faced with difficult situations. All of a sudden they can’t figure out why they’re tired. They have to understand the mental part of it. This is a big part of what you need to do in order to get over the hump,” he said.

They’re making progress. It’s the guys mid to late 20s, 30s that have had a tougher time dealing with the mental part of it, understanding what it takes to get over the hump with the top guys. That’s what separates them.”

Nevertheless, he believes the new era contenders are making a progress but some shortcomings do pull them down. “These young players are making some pretty good progress. Some guys have stalled,” McEnroe reflected.

Further, he gave a few examples from the NextGen category and portrayed the setbacks of their game. Tsitsipas, he struggled recently. He’s had some trouble dealing with people close to his own age. He doesn’t really understand, I don’t think, what he needs to do on a quicker hard court or grass court,” he said.

Felix Auger-Aliassime at Miami Open 2019
Felix Auger-Aliassime at Miami Open 2019

“Depends on each person. Some of these guys, Felix Auger-Aliassime from Canada, Shapovalov, if you look at them physically, they’re pretty darn mature. One is 20, the other is 19. They both look like they’re 25. They look ready to go. Last year Felix had some issues with his heart. It seems to be behind him, which is great. You think that he’d be capable of doing it. Denis physically, I think in his case could be more mental, with the strength you need mentally to deal with these guys,” McEnroe concluded.