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Aussie tennis legend Paul McNamee explains why Rafael Nadal is unlikely to win Australian Open

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Aussie tennis legend Paul McNamee explains why Rafael Nadal is unlikely to win Australian Open

Aussie tennis legend Paul McNamee says Rafael Nadal ‘lost a yard’ and the only Grand Slam he has a realistic chance of winning is the French Open

  • Rafael Nadal has no chance to defend his Australian Open title on January 16
  • That’s the opinion of Paul McNamee, who believes injuries will hold him back
  • Aussie tennis great Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime are expected to feature
  • Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic is gunning for his 10th title at Melbourne Park
  • 12 months ago he was deported in scenes that generated international headlines

Aussie tennis legend Paul McNamee has dismissed Rafael Nadal’s chances at the Australian Open, declaring the Spanish superstar will be a genuine Grand Slam contender at the French Open.

Nadal, 36, is desperate to defend his men’s singles crown at Melbourne Park later this month – but McNamee will be stunned if the veteran captures his 23rd career major.

The renowned sports administrator, who served as Hopman Cup tournament director and former CEO of AFL club Melbourne Demons, also said Nadal had ‘lost a yard’ of speed and was not the same threat on court.

Recent losses to Britain’s Cam Norrie and Aussie Alex de Minaur in the United Cup when representing Spain have other players on the ATP circuit confident they will have Nadal’s proposal on Jan. 16, according to McNamee.

‘Like (Roger) Federer before him, Nadal is battling injuries. In 2022, he suffered an abdominal tear, which ruled him out of a Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios,’ McNamee said in his Sydney Morning Herald column.

Nadal is in the twilight of his career, but still manages to win the Australian and French Opens in 2022

Nadal is in the twilight of his career, but still manages to win the Australian and French Opens in 2022

‘Plus there was a recurrence of an acute ankle injury, and he’s been battling tendonitis in the knees for a long time.

‘Court coverage has always been a key asset of Nadal’s but, and this is a harsh thing to say, I’m afraid he’s lost a yard.’

McNamee wasn’t too scathing – he labeled the Nadal forehand ‘the single best shot in the history of tennis’, better than Pete Sampras or Roger Federer serves, or Novak Djokovic’s backhand.

He expects Nadal to win again at Roland Garros later this year, but points to the likes of world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, fellow young guns Jannik Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev as must watch at Melbourne Park .

Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic has a point to prove after his visa was canceled 12 months ago

Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic has a point to prove after his visa was canceled 12 months ago

The two-time Wimbledon doubles champion is also expecting a ‘big run’ from local hopes Nick Kyrgios and de Minaur.

Djokovic – who won the Australian Open a record nine times – impresses as a real contender, despite turning 35 in May.

The Serbian, who has 21 Grand Slam titles to his name – will also be highly motivated after having his visa canceled 12 months ago for failing to disclose his vaccination status.

The Australian government later repatriated him in scenes that generated international headlines.

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