3/6/13 6:35 PM | Johan Lindahl
Old pro Ivan Lendl is withholding judgement on the comeback of Rafael Nadal until after this week's start of a stern test on hardcourt at the Indian Wells Masters.
The 11-time Grand Slam winner boasts a return to tennis which has netted titles in Sao Paolo and Acapulco.
But the No. 5 will now be playing with the big boys on cement, which has certainly been responsible for handing him some lingering knee injuries. "He's a great champion and it's always sad when someone like that gets injured and cannot play. So it's great to have him back," said Lendl, coach of world No. 3 Andy Murray, himself inactive since losing the Australian open final more than five weeks ago to Novak Djokovic.
"As far as how it affects anyone's chances -- well he's a great competitor. It's a little bit early to judge. But there are many more tournaments to come before the French (Open) and before Wimbledon. You cannot underestimate Roger (Federer), Novak has been playing well, and Rafa -- we'll see how he's doing."
Lendl, a former No. 1, is convinced that anyone out side of the top four (Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Spain's David Ferrer) would be hard-pressed to win a Grand Slam title this season. But Ferrer, intimidated by Nadal in the weekend Acapulco final, is a long-odds outside for a major trophy.
"They (anyone else) have to beat somebody in the quarter-finals then semi-finals then finals to win a Grand Slam title. And I don't believe that has been done yet by anybody beating all three."
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