John McEnroe has given Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal 'a year or two' at the top once they return from their injury absences in 2017.
The seven-time singles Grand Slam champion has crowned the Swiss maestro the best tennis player ever while Nadal and Djokovic have also made the top five on his list. McEnroe believes the Spaniard is the only one who can match the Federer when both were at their best, however, the 17-time Grand Slam winner's consistency at the top is one of the key reasons for the American labeling him the 'best player ever'.
The 57-year-old former world number one admits that there is likely to be a void in the men's game in the coming years following the dominance of the big four in the last decade. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and now Andy Murray have dominated the men's game, but McEnroe feels that the quartet will ease their dominance in the next couple of years, which will give the younger generation a chance to stake their claim for the top spots.
"Federer overall, consistency-wise, is the best player ever," McEnroe told WFAN host Marc Malusis in a radio interview on Tuesday in New York City, as quoted by tennisnow.com
"If you put Nadal, who is to me, the other guy. Those two if they played one-on-one and both guys were playing their best, I would say Nadal matches up better with Federer. Overall, I think Federer's been more consistent. Nadal's been more injury-prone.
"There's a void that's about to occur because of what's happened with (Roger) Federer and (Rafael) Nadal. I mean, they're at the end, right? You can't imagine them going on more than a year or two. (Novak) Djokovic (and Andy) Murray are the two best, but they're not getting younger. I know 29 sounds young, but they're going to have another couple years, you anticipate," the former world number one explained.
"So there's these young guys. There are actually some young Americans that potentially could for sure get in the top 10. Whether they can be Grand Slam champions, that's the issue I wonder with right now."
Lucas Pouille, meanwhile, has revealed that Federer is in good form and is getting better ahead of his comeback in 2017. The Swiss ace has not played since his semi-final loss at Wimbledon earlier in the year and is targeting a comeback at the Hopman Cup on 1January.
The Frenchman, who resides in Dubai, was invited to hit with Federer, who is completing his pre-season at his training base at the Meydan Club in the same city and admitted that the former world number one is getting better: "It's been some time since he's practicing again, so he is in good form and playing better and better," Pouille told French newspaper Le Parisien. "When his play is good, he is very aggressive; moves with a lot of speed and is tough to move around."
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