John McEnroe believes that Rafael Nadal will have to change his tactics if he faces Novak Djokovic at the French Open, which begins on Sunday. Nadal, who can meet Djokovic only in the final in Paris, had not lost on clay for nearly two years until he was beaten by the Serb in successive Masters Series finals this month in Madrid and Rome.
"Rafa's going to have to think about changing some of the ideas he may have had before the last couple of matches," McEnroe said yesterday. "In particular he might have to take a few more chances and try to get Djokovic on the defensive a little bit more.
"It appeared that he was allowing Djokovic to dictate play and was banking on him missing and not being consistent enough. It seemed like he was getting pushed around too much. I'm sure his camp is going to go back to the drawing board and try to make it harder for Novak to step in and be as aggressive as he's been the last couple of weeks."
Speaking at the announcement of his participation in the Aegon Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall at the end of this year, McEnroe added: "Nadal came off one of the greatest years in Open tennis history and now all of a sudden he finds himself befuddled and baffled at what to do when he plays against Djokovic. I think this is an exciting time for our sport."
McEnroe, whose record unbeaten start to a season of 42 matches will be broken if Djokovic reaches the quarter-finals in Paris, said he had been impressed by Andy Murray's form in Rome last week. "It looked like he had his fire back and was playing considerably better than against Novak in Australia," he said. "If it doesn't help Andy for the French, it should for Wimbledon."
* Murray will again be the only Briton in the men's singles at the French Open after James Ward was beaten by the American Ryan Harrison in qualifying yesterday.