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August 21, 2009

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McEnroe roots for Andys

SEVEN-TIME grand slam champion John McEnroe predicted an Andy would win the men's title at this year's US Open, naming either Briton Andy Murray or American Andy Roddick as his choices to prevail.

US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe, John's younger brother, went with world No. 1 and holder Roger Federer, casting a sympathy vote as a new father of twins himself in harmony with the Swiss champion.

John McEnroe said Federer was due for a letdown after a triumphant return to world No. 1 in which he leapfrogged Rafael Nadal after wins at the French Open and Wimbledon gave him a record 15 grand slam singles titles.

"I'm not picking him to win the Open," said McEnroe, a four-time winner of the US title. "Only because he's done so much already. Unexpectedly winning the French and then winning Wimbledon and breaking the record and doing so in the manner he did against Roddick," he said about their five-set marathon at the All England Club.

"You would think that of any human being in this situation, even Roger," he said about the letdown factor.

"Depending on the draw, my pick at this point is Murray or Roddick. It's the highest level I've ever seen Roddick, and it's Murray's favorite surface, hard courts. These guys should be incredibly hungry, Roddick to win another and Murray to win his first one."

The older McEnroe explained how the draw could favor Murray.

"At the moment, Murray is now (No.) 2 which means it is conceivable that Nadal and Federer will be in the same half and at the moment Roddick is No. 5. Roddick could be in either Nadal's end or Federer's quarter which would leave Murray with a more open draw."

Patrick McEnroe said Nadal's fitness after a knee injury was a question that would not be answered until a few rounds of the Open, and agreed with his brother that Davis Cup stalwart Roddick ought to bounce back from his Wimbledon near miss.

The Davis Cup captain, however, backed Federer.

"I think the fact that he won Wimbledon and broke the record has taken a little pressure off him," he said.

"Could that hurt him? Could he lose his edge a little bit? Maybe, but he's always seemed to play so well when he's free flowing and just sort of playing without any tension.

"I still think he's the favorite at the Open."


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