Spain's Alex Corretja and Albert Costa swept the Davis Cup singles Friday against a second-tier U.S. team to launch Spain's bid to reach the finals for the first time in 33 years.
Spain needs one victory in the remaining three matches doubles today, two singles on Sunday to earn a spot in the finals, where it can win its first Davis Cup title by beating Australia in Barcelona in December.
"It's not entirely shocking," McEnroe said. "Everyone knew it wouldn't be easy. These guys are rough on this stuff."
The United States has come back from an 0-2 deficit only once since the Davis Cup began in 1900. That was in 1934, when the Americans beat Australia at Wimbledon.
Jan-Michael Gambill served Corretja off the court and pounded shots into the corners in a 6-1 first-set drubbing.
Earlier, Todd Martin lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to Costa .
Gambill's mistakes started creeping in late in the second set, his unforced error count rising, and his serve failing him on key points. Slowly but surely, Corretja worked his way back into the match and carved out a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 6-4 victory.
"I had a lot of opportunities," Gambill said. "I didn't really serve great when it counted. Right now I'm (angry) at the world. I didn't want to come here and lose."
Gambill finished with 17 aces, but his unforced error count grew from seven in the first set to a total of 51, compared with Corretja's total of just 27.
McEnroe praised Gambill's effort but was less enthusiastic about Martin's.
"Jan-Michael is more like my personality," McEnroe said. "He gets revved up. Todd is different. In a sense, I didn't find a key to sort of get him more energized. That's where I failed. I couldn't get him to sort of dig with those reserves, to do what he did at the (U.S.) Open."
Costa camped out behind the baseline for most of the match on the slow red clay, and wore down Martin with deep, heavy topspin shots and an array of drops and lobs.
Martin had held a 13-2 record on clay against Spaniards, but he served poorly throughout this match, making only 53 percent of his first serves, and committed more than twice as many unforced errors as Costa.