Olympic tennis star Patrick McEnroe, a tennis analyst for ESPN, detailed how watching Nadal easily escape a scare in Tokyo on Sunday night felt like a punch to the gut.
McEnroe, who works with Nick Bollettieri on a pre-tennis show on ESPN, said that he was only just emerging from the venue after watching a challenging night for the world’s top ranked player when things started to sink in.
“I knew that Serena had been rushed into hospital to get a positive pregnancy test,” McEnroe said, referencing the engagement announcement made Sunday by his goddaughter, Venus Williams. “But then I was like, ‘Wait a minute, Bernard, what just happened?’”
After the entire tournament’s bad news came together at once, McEnroe said he quickly ran to his sister’s locker room to seek her out.
“I ran over and she’s like, ‘Uh, it’s Rafael Nadal.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s Rafael Nadal.’ She’s like, ‘What’s going on?’ I’m like, ‘Agh.’”
After the unthinkable happened, McEnroe said he took the time to appreciate the moment in a way he didn’t think he would have allowed himself to.
“It was just a really good moment to realize that I got through this tournament and it’s just over,” he said. “To kind of breathe a little bit, just realize that you’re here with these guys and you’re all in this together and there’s an incredible opportunity for the young guys but there’s also incredible pressure. It’s more pressure than you could ever imagine.”