Four-time US Open champion John McEnroe said the prospects of Roger Federer lifting another title at Flushing Meadows weren't good.
McEnroe insists that Federer has encountered considerable adversity this season, which he felt presented a major mental challenge for him this year. In addition Federer has been drawn to play against Rafael Nadal (whom he seldom beats) midway through the tournament.
"He's in a tough predicament obviously because he's so great that it's going to be mentally difficult for him to deal with what his results have been this year," McEnroe told ESPN on Friday.
Federer has won one tournament this season and just last week he played some of his best tennis this year in a losing cause against Nadal in Cincinnati. It is often said that time is leveller and McEnroe feels that the 32-year-old Federer is no longer the player he once was.
"Obviously when you get into your 30s tennis takes its toll and physically starts to slow you down. Those injuries crop up a little bit more often and they take a little bit longer to get over," said Federer.
"Of course he's always been a hard worker that prepares well for the big events. Went 36 straight majors getting to the quarters or better, so clearly he's a guy that will be tougher to beat in a longer match because he knows what that takes...Andre [Agassi] got to the final of the Open at 35, so there's no reason to believe he couldn't do it.
"To me, it's obviously going to be a lot more difficult at this stage. I don't see at this stage him being able to go through all seven [matches] and have to beat at least two of these three [top] guys," added McEnroe.
"Maybe he would use that type of thing as incentive. When you've won 17 [majors], you clearly think you can win another one. To me, there comes a point, even as great as Roger has been for so many years, that it catches up to you a little bit - I personally think that at this stage it's going to be quite, quite difficult for him to win another one," added the American legend.
Popular opinion has it that this is the most talented generation in ATP Tour history, as it includes Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. All three players are determined to leave a legacy in the sport and possibly even sense that Federer is past his best years.
"These guys are hungry. There's other guys that want to get on the board. He's 32. He's going to have to at some stage decide how bad he wants it if he does dip lower in the world. I doubt he'll enjoy being in that spot.
"Now, he can shut everyone up if he was able to go all the way at the Open and possibly finishing as one of the top couple players. But at this stage, I think you're looking at the other three battling for No. 1 this year. One of those three guys is gonna get the second major," explained McEnroe.