John McEnroe Says Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg Are Best Athletes in Tennis History

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John McEnroe Says Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg Are Best Athletes in Tennis History
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www.TennisNow.com

Excerpted from www.TennisNow.com

Roger Federer trails World No. 1 Rafael Nadal by one spot in the rankings, but Hall of Famer John McEnroe believes the only man in tennis history who can match Nadal's athleticism is his arch rival Bjorn Borg.

"The two greatest (tennis) athletes of all time are Bjorn Borg and Rafael Nadal," McEnroe told the media in Qatar today in comments published by Reuters. "Federer is one of the greatest players ever, but I don't think he's as good an athlete as those two."

The muscular Mallorcan completed the career Grand Slam by winning the US Open and for the second time in three years, Nadal will finish as the No. 1 player in the year-end ATP rankings regardless of the results at next week's ATP World Tour Finals in London.

The 24-year-old Spaniard is the ninth player in the history of the South African Airways ATP rankings (since 1973) to finish as ATP World Tour Champion at least twice. He and rival Federer are the only players since 2000 to clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking in the week after the US Open. Federer did it in 2004 and 2006.

"It has been an incredible season—one of my best ever, if not the best," Nadal said. "Winning the US Open together with Roland Garros and Wimbledon, as well as the three back-to-back (ATP World Tour) Masters 1000s in Europe, was not easy.  I worked very hard to get back to the top and it feels really good to know I will end the year as No. 1."

Nadal will be officially crowned as the 2010 ATP World Tour Champion during a special ceremony at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals. He is the third left-hander to finish No. 1 at least twice, joining Jimmy Connors (five times, 1974-78) and John McEnroe (four times, 1981-84).

Nadal became the seventh man in history to achieve a career Grand Slam as he earned his first US Open title. He is also the first player to win three straight Grand Slam titles in the same year since Rod Laver won all four in 1969. Nadal is the youngest player in the Open Era to achieve a career Grand Slam. 

The nine-time Grand Slam champion has collected nine career Grand Slam crowns and he is the second-youngest player behind Bjorn Borg to win nine Slam titles. Borg believes Nadal can continue his success in 2011 when he will try to capture his fourth consecutive major championship at the Australian Open, starting on January 17th.

"He's still up there. If he stays healthy and motivated, he can sustain it for a long time," Borg said in comments published by Reuters.

Excerpted from www.TennisNow.com

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