Tennis

McEnroe expects more Federer magic at US Open

American great John McEnroe expects Roger Federer's sensational comeback season to continue in New York when the US Open kicks off on Monday.

Since returning from a six-month hiatus in January, the 36-year-old Swiss has been in stupendous form, winning five titles, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

"At the moment, we're just assuming that Roger is going to pull the rabbit out of the hat again," four-time US Open champion McEnroe said during an ESPN conference call.

"If Roger wins this, it will be one of the great stories in that last 50 years or ever.

"I saw him today and I said, 'I've got to tell you, hats off. I've watched tennis for 40 or 50 years and I've never seen anything like this'."

Chris Evert, the winner of 18 Grand Slam titles, said she was equally mesmerised by what Federer has done this year.

"He came back and it was ridiculous," she said.

"It was like he was a different person. It was like his clone has come back."

One question mark hanging over Federer is his health.

Back pain appeared to limit his mobility during the Rogers Cup final in Montreal earlier this month, when he fell in straight sets to 20-year-old German Alexander Zverev.

It was only the third time Federer had lost a match this year and, as a result, the 19-time Grand Slam champion opted to skip the Cincinnati Masters to tend to the injury.

"I was sitting on the court in Montreal when he tweaked his lower back and it was really evident that something was wrong with him," Evert said.

"You never know, he doesn't say much about his injuries and he made no excuses after the match but, hopefully, he's healthy."

Meanwhile, world No. 11 Milos Raonic yesterday became the latest high-profile player to skip the tournament because of injury, joining defending champion Stan Wawrinka, two-time winner Novak Djokovic and world No. 10 Kei Nishikori. - REUTERS

US OPENRoger Federer