'Everyone talked about Novak Djokovic, they forgot about Rafael Nadal at Australian Open' - John McEnroe
"I don’t know what it means for the history of tennis, these guys are just incredible what they keep doing," McEnroe told Eurosport. "It started out as a complete and utter train wreck with Djokovic when he was down there. All we were talking about was him and how he was the guy who was going to go and make history and break the record. Well, they forgot to mention that Rafael Nadal was there."
'Everyone talked about Djokovic, they forgot to talk about Nadal' - McEnroe
Eurosport expert John McEnroe has given his reaction after Rafael Nadal reached the final of the Australian Open as he closes in on a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam singles title.
The Spaniard, who is eyeing a historic major title in improbable fashion, brushed the big-hitting Italian aside in four sets, 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3, on Rod Laver Arena in what ended up being an inspired semi-final win.
A few months ago, the 35-year-old did not even know if he would be in Australia to participate after struggling with injuries over a sustained period ahead of the tournament. Now he has reached his sixth final at Melbourne Park.
Despite all his major titles, the sixth seed has just the solitary title at the first Grand Slam of the season, back in 2009. He will now have every chance of claiming his second in Sunday's showpiece, and McEnroe has given his view of the achievement.
"I don’t know what it means for the history of tennis, these guys are just incredible what they keep doing," McEnroe told Eurosport.
"It started out as a complete and utter train wreck with Djokovic when he was down there. All we were talking about was him and how he was the guy who was going to go and make history and break the record.
"Well, they forgot to mention that Rafael Nadal was there, who has not played in six months.
Highlights: Nadal closes on 21st Grand Slam title by beating Berrettini to reach final
"Who was the last guy who was 35 and did not play for six months, and then went on to win the Australian Open? His name was Roger Federer.
"All of a sudden, things have fallen into place for Rafa, who has to be the humblest, classiest champion of almost any athlete I’ve ever seen in any sport.
"It’s well-deserved for a guy to do this like Rafa Nadal. You can see how much it meant to him to get to the finals again."
‘I missed that feeling’ – Nadal says he feels ‘alive again’
When asked what was most surprising about his comeback by Eurosport expert Mats Wilander in The Cube, Nadal replied: Mats, being honest, everything.
"[For] the people from outside it is difficult to believe. But the people who are next to me and watched my condition, lived my diary for the last six months, it’s difficult to understand I could play at this level right now.
"It’s difficult to explain honestly but I feel lucky, I’m playing with a great attitude and positive feelings. I feel a little bit alive again in terms of competitive spirit. I missed that feeling.
"I know the pressure is not much for me now, I never believed I would have the chance to be where I am today so I’m just enjoying every single moment and, of course, trying my best.”
In his on-court interview, Nadal said: "The first two sets were some of the best I've played for a long time.
'We need to suffer, we need to fight' - Nadal reaches final, closes on 21st Grand Slam
"I had to suffer and I had to fight, but to be in the final again means a lot. I think I started the match playing great, one of the best in a long time.
"I know how good Matteo is, very solid, and I knew in the third he was going to go for the shots. He's a very charismatic player on tour. I wish him all the best, I think he has a very good future.
"We need to suffer and we need to fight. That is the only way to be where I am today. It means a lot to be in the final again today.
"For me, it's all about the Australian Open. It's an amazing event, but I have been a little unlucky with my injuries. I was close a couple of times and was lucky I won in 2009. I will try to enjoy the victory today and then afterwards I will just try to do my best."
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