John McEnroe: Andy Murray Will Face Intense Scrutiny at Australian Open

John McEnroe, left, with Andy Murray
Tennis world number one Andy Murray, right, with seven-times Grand Slam champion John McEnroe, left, London, December 5, 2015. McEnroe believes Murray will face a new level of pressure at the upcoming Australian Open. Jordan Mansfield/Getty

Tennis icon John McEnroe believes the pressure on Andy Murray will be more intense than ever when the world number one begins his Australian Open campaign.

Murray experienced the finest year of his career so far in 2016, winning his second Wimbledon title and jumping over great rival Novak Djokovic in the rankings when Canadian Milos Raonic pulled out of the Paris Masters semifinal in November.

McEnroe, 58, won seven Grand Slam singles titles and spent 170 weeks as world number one, and believes Murray will face greater scrutiny than at any point of his career when he takes to the court at Melbourne Park in mid-January.

"It's got to be a tremendous feeling because it looked like it [getting to world number one] would never happen," McEnroe says. "He continued to work at it. From that aspect there's got to be an incredible sense of pride. It's going to be interesting to see how he reacts to it [the world number one ranking] because the focus is going to be even more intense. They [crowds] are going to watch when he gets negative and starts to whine with his box.

"I don't know how many games Ivan [Lendl, Murray's coach] plans on being with him. That will be an issue moving forward, how he handles that stuff.

"It would have been unheard of to think after the French Open final that he'd finish the year number one so it was an incredible accomplishment that he did that."

The Australian Open begins in Melbourne on January 16.

John McEnroe will be resuming the role of Commissioner of Tennis during the 2017 Australian Open in an eight-episode series.