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Top Four set sights on Wimbledon

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Jonathan Overend | 13:39 UK time, Thursday, 16 June 2011

When the top four in the world made the final four at the French Open, we were granted a pertinent reminder of one thing; what a glorious era this is at the top of the men's game.

Three of the top four had made the semi-finals at the Australian Open and the top two had contested every mandatory Masters 1000 final since the start of the year.

From Miami to Madrid, Indian Wells to Rome, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic duelled in the Championship matches while, at the majors, it was Djokovic versus Andy Murray in Melbourne and Nadal versus Roger Federer in Paris.

Now Murray has returned to form, after his springtime slump, we have a genuine top four again.

The top three should remain well clear in the betting due to their Grand Slam winning pedigree but all four are ready to challenge for the Wimbledon title and, make no mistake, all four can win it.

ROGER FEDERER

Roger Federer

Seeded number three at Wimbledon, the lowest he's been since 2003 when he won the title for the first time (as number four), I make him the marginal favourite due mainly to his Wimbledon record, but also because of the way he beat Djokovic and tested Nadal at the French.

After a year when he could have been left behind by the younger tyros, Federer has worked to improve his game, inspired by a desire to win many more majors. Having lost to Djokovic in New York and Melbourne, Federer's Paris win significantly restored any small amount of self-confidence which may have been knocked.

Last year he came into Wimbledon with physical issues which he tried to keep quiet. He almost lost to Alejandro Falla in the first round, a performance which appears to have earned the Columbian a wildcard this year, and he fell to Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.

Even though he pulled out of Halle, citing a groin strain, don't read anything into that. Federer comes into Wimbledon in top condition with a burning desire to reclaim his title.

Interesting in terms of tactics will be his use of the backhand. His slice, especially on return of serve, has been effective at Wimbledon over the years as it stays low off the grass, but in the past six months he's been striking through the ball with more topspin on return.

It's had a good impact on hard courts and clay, so will he continue with that theme or return to the slice?

RAFAEL NADAL

Rafael Nadal

The Spaniard returned to Majorca for a few days after his defeat at Queen's and will undoubtedly head back to London refreshed and determined to successfully defend his title.

Nadal has not lost at Wimbledon since the final of 2007 (he won in 2008 and 2010, and wasn't fit to play in 2009) which is an incredible thought.

He looked sharp on the grass at Queen's until he had to close out the match against Jo Wilfred Tsonga, when his serve cracked dramatically. Tsonga then played brilliantly to send the top seed home.

At the French Open he was taken to five sets in the first round by John Isner, when the new balls were flying dramatically, but when it really mattered in the second week, Nadal stepped it up with straight sets wins over Robin Soderling and Andy Murray before seeing off Federer in the final.

Henri Leconte, the wonderful entertainer from France and also a shrewd commentator, isn't alone when he feels conditions at Wimbledon may actually be slower than at Roland Garros. Nadal should feel right at home.

Crucial tactics will be his court position. On clay he steps back to return the second serve, to run around the backhand and whip his forehand into court with all that spin.

On grass he will step in and try to hit flatter across the net. When he gets a short ball he will attack it with his forehand, usually into the backhand corner, and his volleying skills are excellent enough to win the majority of points from there.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC

Novak Djokovic

So how will Djokovic bounce back from his defeat to Federer in Paris, the loss which ended his incredible unbeaten run?

The Serbian's start to 2011, with seven tournament wins from the first seven he played, will live long in the memory. To come into Wimbledon - traditionally seen as the fulcrum of the tennis calendar - with only one defeat is mind blowing.

Sadly, we can't assess his grass-court form because he pulled out of Queen's and will arrive at the All England Club without a competitive match on the surface. But on the strength of his year so far, and the subtle changes to his game, he absolutely has the ability to win Wimbledon for the first time.

He was hit hard by his straightforward loss to Berdych in the semi-finals last year. That wasn't a match I'd expect the Djokovic of today to come close to losing.

Expect him to dominate more behind his big first serve because, after some tinkering last year, he returned to his old (hardly ineffective) motion 12 months ago. The results speak for themselves.

His backhand is sensational - countering most top players' usual line of attack - while his forehand has the ability to carve open the court.

For Djokovic this year on the grass, movement will be the key to his success or otherwise. On clay and hard courts he is an incredible mover, allowing him to retrieve from deep in the corners and recover position in a flash. Can he find his grass-court feet as quickly and as effectively? If he can then he is a serious title contender.

ANDY MURRAY

Andy Murray

What a turnaround for the number four seed. After the Australian Open, when he reached the final, Murray suffered four successive first-round defeats and seemed at a loss to know what was going on.

His title at Queen's, having almost pulled out after his first match such was the pain of his injured ankle, came at the culmination of a very important period for him.

He reached the semi-finals of Rome, fighting to the end and almost beating the guy (Djokovic) who had not lost a match all year; he reached the semi-finals of the French, his best Grand Slam performance on clay; and he won the title on the London grass. His last three tournaments have been ones to savour.

And this impressive sequence has come during a period of discomfort in many areas of his normally reliable body. An elbow injury disrupted the clay-court season, while he came into the French with a groin problem and rolled his ankle during it.

He's talked about it all to death, leaving us in no doubt about the various stresses and strains he's been carrying, and in previous years might have pulled out or used injury as an excuse for a poor defeat.

Instead, he's come through tight situations and toughed it out with his mental strength - a big positive.

Talking about it so openly may have been quite therapeutic. He thinks back to his chats with David Haye earlier in the year and recalls the story about the fighter who broke his hand but still won, or the other guy who's shoulder popped but still won. Murray loves these stories of fighting legend.

That's why he's determined to prove on 3 July, the day after Haye fights Klitchko in Hamburg, that he has what it takes to win Wimbledon for the first time.

Much will depend on his consistency of play. He has the form graph with the most fluctuations. Brilliant at his best, a match for the other three certainly, but over the best of five sets against rivals with reputations for consistency?

Murray has to find a Roddick performance from Queen's, extend it for another set, and then repeat it over and over and over.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    All depends how the draw goes, if Federer draws Djok in the semis I fancy Federer to make the final - overall I would be pushed to bet against Nadal unless he is as tired as he looked at Queens.

    Murray will have done well to make the semis.

  • Comment number 2.

    To be fair, Murray only needs to find a Roddick performance* in two matches - the semi and the final. The rest of the field can be dispatched with anything matching the Tsonga performance or better. I think Murray is a guarantee for hitting the semis again, and from there it's anyone's guess.

    *And a Roddick performance might not be enough against Rafe, Feds or Djokovic - they won't give him anywhere near as many easy points, or wilt as easily when they're being outplayed.

  • Comment number 3.

    you just over-rate-ed murray here. He just needs to do too much to stand any chance of success against the rafs,feds and djoks. Its british press and you guys go on beating the 'dhol' coming out with various reason to show what happened at queens and french open. But he'll come up short again,again in the semis.

    Here's hoping for a rafs vs feds final,but seeing the seedings don't thing that'll be the case. A semi-final between them would be no harm. If rafs beats feds this time around,it'll be the final nail in the packaging of the feds legacy.
    Djoks,i feel sorry for him,what a great player he is,but born at the wrong time.

  • Comment number 4.

    I can see Murray making the semis again, but then beating Djokovic or Nadal?? I just can't see it.

    When Murray plays aggressive tennis in my opinion he is just as good a player as the top 3 in the world, but for some weird reason he doesn't like playing that type of tennis even though it has given him such good rewards.

    Federer would probably be the favourite because of his record on grass but Nadal on top form is unstoppable.

  • Comment number 5.

    It's going to be closer than ever this year, but my gut says Nadal v Federer in the final (the dream final again!!) purely based on skill and talent on grass.

    Murray is a class apart compared to the last 70 years of British tennis, head and shoulders above any of the Henmans, Wilkinsons and Rusedskis. His passing shots are stunning to watch and his ability to return the most powerful of serves is second to none, but, he relies on his first serve way too much and when it drops below 60% it's game over. Don't be fooled into the 'he can't take the pressure' nonsense, Andy just hasn't got that edge, that killer instinct. But mark my words, when he wins his first slam the floodgates will open and he will be a force to be reckoned with.

    Nole is my weakest link here purely because of the surface. If this were a hard court event I'd be selling my house and betting away the little equity I had on him, but grass is the one surface that isn't attached to a Masters event and that is not good for him. Like many of the top players Djokovic likes to ease into a big tournament but grass seems to be his weakest surface and that's why the for sale sign is not out the front right now.

    Federer may have outplayed himself at his own game by focusing on Wimby so much. He is by far the greatest ever grasscourt player, but you have to wonder if a last 16/8 meeting with a top 8 player might make him feel the pressure too much - look at last year. I feel that Federer winning at SW19 all depends on how the other protaganists fair during the two weeks and whether his self-belief is still as strong today as it has been in the past.

    Speak to any Nadal fan and you'll hear mutterings of disappointment after the losses to Nole this year, yet this has been an incredibly successful season so far for Rafa. There's something about him when his toes touch the green stuff, he embraces the challenge and is able to blindly negotiate the transition from clay surprisingly well. Can he win Wimbledon again? Like Federer, I think it'll be down to how he feels at those crucial times, if his self-belief (which seemed to dissapate against Djokovic at an alarming rate earlier this year) is sturdy and his exhaustion levels hide themselves away for 2 weeks.

    Who's going to win Wimbledon this year?? Not a clue!!! Great isn't it.............!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Sorry, 'Nadaliator, but you don't beat Nadal twice in Slams, Federer in your last two Masters Finals and win 17 titles if you 'killer instinct'

    Fact is Murray's game is evolving. As an example, his forehand, that used to be easily the weakest in the Top 10 as recent as 'Aus' is now definitely worthy of his Top 4 status

    A subtle, but significant fact

  • Comment number 7.

    And how many times was Nadal injured during those wins?

  • Comment number 8.

    I have nothing but admiration for Murray, I just don't see him winning Wimby this year - if he does, I'll be very happy

  • Comment number 9.

    Djokovic's purple patch is over and due to the lack of practice on the grass I can see him dropping out early. I hope I'm wrong though because I like to watch him play, especially against the better players.

    Murray can win if, as is the usual argument, he sorts his mind out. I don't think he will this time as his first major will probably come on the hard courts, maybe Australia as he does good there.

    I can't see Federer as being favourite over Nadal. As great as the guy is, and it pains me to say this, he isn't the force he used to be. He's a banker to reach the semis, and I hope he wins (unless he plays against Murray) but I can't see it.

    Nadal, as much as I don't like his game (it's just too good!!!), will probably win it unless he's still feeling the effects of the French. I doubt it though.

    Top 4 to all reach the semis and we'll see how it goes from there.

  • Comment number 10.

    Here's a call - nadal to go out before the semi finals. Just feel that he isn't playing his normal great tennis, his forehand has been more wayward than usual and he looked more than a few off the pace at queens. All it will take, for me, is a soderling/tsonga/del potro/berdych power player to turn up against him and he will be in trouble. Federer firm favorite for me.

  • Comment number 11.

    I agree that it's hard to see past these four, none of the others seem to have what it takes at the minute. Another take the prospects of them all, written last week...

    http://samhopwood.blogspot.com/2011/06/who-will-be-wimble-don.html

  • Comment number 12.

    @11 Just wasted a precious 90 seconds of my life I'll never get back again.

    "Title favourite? I know he's only good on clay but he's been in the final 4 times" Yawn. Your tennis knowledge is clearly from the back pages of the tabloids, maybe you should keep it there.

  • Comment number 13.

    "And how many times was Nadal injured during those wins?"

    The usual excuse when Murray wins a big match. It's either the opponent didn't turn up or was injured or the moon was in the wrong phase

    I don't recall Nadal being anymore injured in the US Open SF of 2008, than Murray was in the following days final and Nadal became injured due to the sheer work he had to do, running around after Murrray's incisive ball placements in Aus 2010


    "All it will take, for me, is a soderling/tsonga/del potro/berdych power player to turn up against him and he will be in trouble"

    Murray leads the combined matches 14-6. The grasp of Tennis facts you have, you would think it was the other way around!!

    What is it with Murray? Just becasue he hasn't won a Slam, does not mean he will not win one and should therefore be 'trashed' with dodgy facts (he leads 5-1 against both Tsonga and Del Potro for goodness sake)

    He's a special talent, second only to Federer in the natural skills stakes


    "Federer firm favorite for me"

    I can see the logic. I mean considering he's one none of the last 5, made 60-odd unforced errors in his last final, lost his last two Masters Finals to Murray he's obviously a 'firm favourite'!!


    Me thinks that you are entitled to an opinion, but you don't strike me as someone with real in depth knowledge of the game. Then again neither has Overend!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Murray's weakness is the same as it's been for five years--consistency. His talent is undeniable and isn't exceeded by anyone in the game. But he has lapses that shouldn't happen and he certainly (for some odd reason) has a reluctance to play an agressive type game, in spite of being very successful with it.
    However the inconsistency is and always has been his biggest flaw and nowhere does it show more than in his serve. Sometimes his 1st. serve % is atrocious for a top player. I have posted many times that Andy should pick up the phone, call 'Pistol Pete' and ask him how much he needs to show Andy how he did it, because Sampras was better than anyone in the game at producing an ace when he needed it most.
    Solve that problem and increase his agressiveness, and Andy could run away with Wimbledon and a hatful of majors--will he do that? Your guess is as good as mine--or anyone else's come to that.

  • Comment number 15.

    The usual excuse when Murray wins a big match. It's either the opponent didn't turn up or was injured or the moon was in the wrong phase

    "I don't recall Nadal being anymore injured in the US Open SF of 2008, than Murray was in the following days final and Nadal became injured due to the sheer work he had to do, running around after Murrray's incisive ball placements in Aus 2010"

    Recovering from tendonitis in 2010 but anyway, that's bye the bye.

    You seem to misunderstand me. Please read my first post again. Don't do the typical "Lewis Hamilton is King" defensive argument, it's not an attack, it's an opinion.

    I rate Murray very highly, much higher than all but two players - Federer and Nadal.

    And for statistics sake, Murray has never beaten Nadal on grass, so stop being arsey and take my comments as they're meant - positively.



  • Comment number 16.

    Realistically can Murray win Wimbledon this year? YES is the simple answer. Undoubtedly Murray has the game to beat all of the worlds top three. Murray is physically stronger than he has ever been and has the stamina to go 5 sets against the best. His serve has improved greatly and can now hit the ball as fast and as accurate as Andy Roddick (look at his Queens statistics for proof). Murray has a strong forehand and can mix it up using the backhand slice to frustrate his opponents. This backhand slice is an important part of Murray's games as it forces his opponents to try and dictate the pace of the rallies and causes an increase in his opponents unforced errors. The key against Djokovic and Nadal is to win the point early, if you want to play 20 forehand rallies against Nadal from the back of the court there will only be one winner. This brings me on to my final point about Murray and that is that he knows all this and the tactical side of the game is as good as anyone's. He knows what he has to do at SW19 to lift the trophy and this could be his year!! For the record my final four (draw depending) will be Nadal, Federer, Murray and Roddick. Never count Roddick out on grass, remember it took a truly special performance for his Queens demise!! Roll on Wimbledon!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Incorrect. Murray and Nadal will fail due to injury, Djokovic's form will desert him, and Federer will defeat some newcomer in the final.

  • Comment number 18.

    Nole will win against Rafa in the final.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ banbrotam

    I was talking about Nadal, as clearly stated when I said "Nadal to go out". If you have some visual impediment then apologies, however I recommend in future you read things twice before launching into a rather unconvincing tirade and question my grasp on a game that I have both played and watched since the age of 4.

    However I'm rather glad that you did. 'Federer has lost his last two masters finals to Murray'.....yep. For a man who has won 16 Slams - I shan't think he'd lose sleep about it. As for the every time Murray has met Federer in a Grandslam final...how's that gone for him? I'm as much of a Murray fan as anyone, but please take off the blinkers (that may actually explain why you thought I was talking about Murray - mystery solved).

    Murray has talent, he has game - he is largely brilliant in your beloved masters series, but he has yet to develop the consistent Grandslam winning performance. This is largely not his fault. Often he has had to play Nadal followed by Federer and each time he has met the latter he has found him in imperious form.

    I completely agree that Murray is odds-on to beat any of the names I mentioned. Nadal would be too, I just feel he will struggle.

    By the way, the fact that you believe 60 unforced errors against Nadal at Roland Garros immediately equates to a poor performance demonstrates to me your rather limited grasp of the sport. Against Nadal on clay, that is necessary. You HAVE to try and shorten the point, you HAVE to play shots you wouldn't take on against anyone else. If you hit a return slice mid court Nadal will murder you, Federer's tactics were spot on - just look at how he fared last time they met in the final at Paris - he had didn't take the ball on, he didn't take Nadal on, and he was slaughtered.

    I think your intitled to your opinion - but you clearly don't possesses the ability to read accurately, and, to my mind, your grasp of the game of tennis is obviously limited, possibly due to your 'Murray tinted glasses'.

  • Comment number 20.

    @19 I concur........

  • Comment number 21.

    You have to feel sorry for Murray when he walks onto a court against the other 3 top 4 guys, as he is the one that has to think his way through the match and play more tactically. Nadal has his huge forehand and brilliant retreaving skills that he can rely on and will win him 99% of the games he plays without having to change tactics. Djokovic is the same with his backhand and athleticism and Federer on top form as he was at the French can hit winners from anywhere on the court, especailly at Wimbeldon. Murray knows these 3 have the bigger "weapons" as Leon Smith would say, so he has to do something different against them which leads to a slightly erratic approach when things start going against him. In his victories against them he has benefited from making them uncomfortable and from disrupting there natural games which against any other player doesn't get changed. Even when Nadal ,Djokojic and Federer play each other they don't disrupt each others games that much, other than Fed struggling against Nadal's forehand with his backhand unable to match it.

    It will be interesting to see what the possible semi's will be, I don't think Federer will ever beat Nadal again, as Rafa has the edge against him. So Fed will be hoping he can play Djoko in the semi then Murray in the final. Other than that I can't pick a winner. lets all enjoy Wimbeldon

  • Comment number 22.

    Dom. Apologies, I'd 'cross read' a thread. However, I no rose tinted glasses with regards to Murray - but will defend his talent and his 17 Trophies to the hilt

    The difficulty I have (and other Murray fans on forums like 'My Tennis Lounge' is that everyone uses the past to judge the future. Relevant to a degree, but you have to look at what has been going in the recent past and then combine with the long history

    For instance you seem to take the rather lazy view that just because Fed's beaten Murray in two major finals, then that will always be the way of things. In that case Lendl wouldn't have more slams than McEnroe and as many as Connors - becasue they used to cream him in their early tussles

    i.e. things evolve. Murray was 21 playing an at almost peak 25/26 year old Federer in his first.

    Also and 'at peak' Federer beats anyone. But it's not 2006. Or 2008 or January 2010

    In addtion Murray is now playing a better game, given that he's not developed his forehand

    So you see, a little bit of reseach shows that Murray is getting better. Is his best as good as Federer's 2011 best? Well it's as close as it's ever been and the fact he has beaten him in their last two Masters finals IS significant as it was the first time he'd beaten him in any of the previous ones

    Who'll win? One of the Top 4 and it's too close to call as they all have a flaw at the moment and the player who hides their flaws the best will win

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh! One more thing 'Dom'. Any player making 60 unforced errors in a 4 set match, nearly always loses

    It was great of Roger to go for broke, so he can then damn Nadal with faint praise (as he always does when it comes to his three close rivals) but a little bit of restraint would have been better

  • Comment number 24.

    Sparky

    I agree that with Fed, Murray has irritated him into making mistakes. However, as he has beaten him 8 times - I'm not certain that we can put it down to that every time!! The Shanghai Mastes was a 6-2, 6-2 tournament final win - where Murray (for once) genuinley tied him knots

    Also when he beats the other two, it's usually a case of Murray playing very well

    Like I say, skills wise he is as good and he's as good in all the other events - he just needs a bit more luck, fitness and nerve in the Slams

  • Comment number 25.

    @12 - thanks for your feedback. Hopefully anyone else who read my blog was able to see the sarcasm in "I know he's only good on clay" and that I was pointing out that Nadal was indeed favourite (I don't know where the second half of your "quote" came from!).

    Not sure how you can claim your comments are meant positively when they just come across as antagonistic and rude, I don't see anyone criticising you for wasting their time reading your comments/opinions

  • Comment number 26.

    @23/24
    It takes a different temperament to win a slam and to date Murray has never shown up in a final.

    Fed has a problem with Nadal, he overplays his shots to try and avoid the extended rallies that Nadal is more likely to win. Federer lost the match in Paris in his head - his tennis at the beginning of the first set was top notch.

    Fed's UFEs definitely contributed to his downfall but its part of his aggressive style of playing that I personally applaud.

  • Comment number 27.

    @banbrotam

    I will once again re-iterate that I am a Murray fan. BUT I'm a realistic one. Do I think he has the natural ability of Nadal or Federer - No. Should he be judged as a weaker player because of that - No. Remember we are in the age of two of the greatest players to ever to take to the court. Murray will win slams, of that I have no doubt, but he doesn't have the game or mental strength in my opinion to beat Federer or Nadal in a Grandslam final, the occasion gets the most of Murray - the latter two thrive of it.

    You can't compare Murray to Lendl either. Lendl did evolve - yes, his development of a 'big game temperament' was magnificent. However, he was living in the age, as you stated, of Conners and McEnroe. For me, not anywhere near the same as Nadal and Federer. Before you reel the Masters series stats off at me, I don't care. Federer has doubled Conners Slam tally, and more than doubled McEnroe's. Federer is the greatest, and he is playing better than he has been for years.

    Certainly, I can't remember seeing a stronger Federer on clay than at Roland Garros a few weeks back. He was superb throughout the tournament, ended Djoko's run which should not be forgotten. Matches hinge on key games, especially a Nadal - Federer contest. Federer lost that match in the first set. If you are to beat Nadal on clay - you MUST win the first set. The 60 unforced errors are irrelevant, they were necessary - the only person to beat Nadal in Paris, Soderling, took him HEAD ON.

    You ask the question 'who will win'. Gut feeling tells me Nadal is not at his strongest, while Federer certainly is coming off his best performance in Paris to date. Murray has a better chance that Djoko, purely because he matches up better to Nadal at Wimbledon than Federer. I predict a Murray - Federer final, and as much as you will hate to hear it, Murray has done little to convince me he is capable of winning that game.

  • Comment number 28.

    there will be some dangerous floaters in the first week that all 4 will need to avoid Roanic ,Isner, Anderson,Tsonga,and even Roddick will be in the quarters,there will be upsets for sure.but think it will be Fed in the end

  • Comment number 29.


    Rafa will win.
    Like 21, I think Fed has a mental block about beating him (except for the WTF @ O2) & in the fifth @ RG his legs were starting to go.

    @ 26, Muray is very close to winning a slam. Yes, he was outclassed at AO by the Djoker, but arguably no-one could have beaten Nole on that form, & remember the epic tie-break v Fed in the final the year before. Plus semis @ RG this year, was his best ever result there.

  • Comment number 30.

    If Nadal and Federer are drawn to play in the semi's I expect a boring final...

  • Comment number 31.

    Only reason Murray's name gets mentioned with the top three is because he is British and gets over hyped in BBC, as usual. Murray has not proved himself, he needs to win a slam.
    He is very close to the top three, I agree on that. IMO though, he is on the second tier of the top players. I think Del Potro is also a very good player and might eclipse Murray provided he gains is fitness back.

  • Comment number 32.

    Murray better find the killer instinct or he'll drift into irrelevance ... Can he find the feeling that he is entitled to crush whoever stands in front of him, crush them, crush them without mercy, and take the prize ?

  • Comment number 33.

    Everyone assumes nothing ever changes in tennis. People say if Murray meets Federer in the final he'll lose, presumably because that's what happened before. They say if he meets Nadal on grass he'll lose, because that's what happened before.

    I keep hearing that Murray will never win a slam, because of what's happened the three times he's reached a slam final... I suggest those people 'google' Ivan Lendl.

    I think it is a really close call between the four of them. Djokovic has been imperious, but has (finally) lost and is not quite as convincing on grass. Nadal won the French, but not with the style he normally does (and yes, i appreciate he probably couldn't care less) and he looked tired against Tsonga. Federer has the groin injury, but looked great in Paris, and Murray had his best clay form of his life and played great in Queens.

    All 4 can win it, and if any of the 4 play their best they can beat the other 3. History doesn't always paint the future, who would have said a year ago that Djokovic would find the form he has this year?

    I hope Murray wins, and I think he can if he's positive, if the first serve percentage is high and his forehand maintains its recent huge improvement. As for who will win i'm not sure, i change my mind every day. 4 really top players. I'd need to see the draw before making my predictions. Should be a great 2 weeks though. Come on Murray!

  • Comment number 34.

    I feel there are too many seeds nowadays. I would prefer to see just the top 8 seeded and I'd be happy for this to follow the ATP rankings. I'm not sure about the women's rankings since the top ranked players don't do very well in the Grand Slam events.

  • Comment number 35.

    I can see the Top 4 seeds making the semi's, they all made the last 4 on the clay of Paris and all but Nadal are more at home on grass, and it goes without saying Nadal is just about as daunting on any surface these days, and if like they say, the courts are going to be slower at Wimbledon than those of Roland Garros then that will play into his hands even more. However, I do think Federer should be favourite, and I think he will win it. His most devastating shot, his cross court forehand is back to the days of 05/06 and when that is in order you know he is playing somewhere near his best, his movement on grass is a class apart and last but not least, he has won here 6 times!!! Nadal's forehand has been a little erratic for him over the past 6 weeks, and he will also a tad jaded. I don't think Murray has the self belief to win a slam yet, I think he is almost waiting for Federer and Nadal to tail off before he thinks he can win a slam, last but not least Djokovic, he is playing incredibly well obviously, he even played a great match in the loss to Federer at the french, but if and more likely when they meet in the semi finals I think that loss will be in the back of his mind. Federer to beat Nadal 3-1 on the last sunday of the championships!!

  • Comment number 36.

    "You can't compare Murray to Lendl either. Lendl did evolve - yes, his development of a 'big game temperament' was magnificent. However, he was living in the age, as you stated, of Conners and McEnroe. For me, not anywhere near the same as Nadal and Federer. Before you reel the Masters series stats off at me, I don't care. Federer has doubled Conners Slam tally, and more than doubled McEnroe's. Federer is the greatest, and he is playing better than he has been for years"

    So I you appear to be saying that winning a Slam is even harder now than it was in Lendl's time.

    In that case the comparison with Lendl is more than valid it took him 4 attempts before he won his first and then he went on to win 8.

    I was a critic of Lendl at the time and came out with the same 'mentally too weak' arguments. However, it's clear that his opposition was too good at the time in comparison to the younger man

    Indeed the comparisons are startling. Connors was a similar age to Fed. Mac to Nadal and Lendl to Murray

    What Lendl shows that if you keep putting yourself in a postion eventually you will inevitably win one

    As Murray has reached the SF's of all the slams, suggesting that he has a mental weakness is a 'weak' argument!! You don't win two-thirds of your final appearances if you are that flaky

  • Comment number 37.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting Murray win. We can all does this and it is completly different to expecting Murray to win. Also, the BBC should mention Murray as much as they, esp since the BBC is a British based orginastion, Murray is 4th in the world and he is our hopes to win any GS, esp since the next GB man is 170ish places below him. You go to any other country and they will be just as bias towards their player/s

    Anyway, firstly i think Murray should aim at least to win a set in a GS final. So far, 3 finals and no sets won. If he gets to the final this year and fails to win a set, the pressure maybe too much but like another user has said, ponce he wins his first GS, then the flood gates will open.

  • Comment number 38.

    'danny'. You are spot on with your well thought out and balanced argument


    Fedexpress. I disagree. We can't be saying that Fed is back to his 05/6 best, just because of one good tournament. I mean even Murray took Nadal close and if Fed is so much back to the form of a Tennis we'd never seen before, then he should have won the French - as I actualy thought he would do

    No. There are flaws in the Fed game and it's only to be expected as he gets older. Significantly, he has lost his aura - meaning it is harder for him to get throught the early rounds (years ago, he barely lost more than 6 games for each round) and then he isn't as ready for the final stages as he once was

    Of course I'm conparing him to his magnificent best (which I think was 04/5) even now he's still as good as the rest on his day

  • Comment number 39.

    @31 Are you for real?
    Murray is World Number 4 for a reason. Granted he hasn't won a slam as yet but it can be seen he's improving (for example the SF @ RG this year being his best result there).
    In my opinion it's only a matter of time before Murray wins a Slam. Whether it will be at Wimbledon this year who knows it's anyone's guess.

  • Comment number 40.

    I feel Nadal is the favourite for the title.

    In the leadup to the French Open, there were many doubters after Nadal's crushing defeats to Djokovic at Madrid and Rome. But Rafa has this uncanny knack of getting his act together in the Slams.

    Fedex will surely make the semis. Grass suits his game to a T. But beating Nadal is surely going a step too far considering the mental block that losses against Rafa seem to have instilled.

    Murray is well...'Murrayesque' like only he can be and in my books, a sure run-in for the semis atleast unless he comes up against a big hitter like Berdych or Del Potro at the top of his game.

    Nole may suffer from lack of practise on grass and I predict a shock early round exit. But come the hard court season, the Djoker will be back on track.

    My heart says Fedex or Murray but my mind says Rafa.

  • Comment number 41.

    I would love Murray to win just to stop all the negativity surrounding a very talented British lad, he is 4th in the world rankings - the top 4 are clear of the rest, the top 3 perhaps clear of Murray at times but that is irrelevant.....he has beat them all at various points in his career, he will beat them all again at some point - will it be at Wimbledon? Who knows, he has a chance if he brings his A game, FACT. To disregard his chances is pathetic, a British sportsman to be performing so well on the world stage should be celebrated and encouraged......he has certainly achieved an incredible amount already with his talent, through honest hard work - nevermind rose tinted Murray glasses, have a look at your own achievements before dishing out all the negativity towards one of our countrymen.

    Andy Murray WILL win a slam final some day, will it be this year? Who knows....I for one hope he does.

  • Comment number 42.

    Might well have been a good article, but I stopped reading 2/3 of the way down the piece about Federer. Does no one check this stuff properly? Jonathan, Falla is from ColOmbia.

  • Comment number 43.

    It is a glorious era at the top of the men's game, as you say, Jonathan, but otherwise things are dire. There is no depth to the men's game at all - no players prepared to put in the hard yards to challenge the top 4. Only a fit Del Potro seems to have the will or desire to do that.One of the top 4 will win Wimbledon - or any other Grand Slam at present. There are no surprises. Contrast that with the exciting contests in the Women's game, where there are many young players thrusting for the top. There are at least 12/13 female players capable of winning Wimbledon this year and lots of tight matches in prospect. Great competition - the men need to step up a long way!

  • Comment number 44.

    I think this is a dream draw for Nadal as he could now win without having to play the one man who doesn't have an inferiority complex about him - Djokovic. IMO neither Murray nor Federer has the belief against Nadal. Djokovic's wins in Madrid and Rome suggested that he now does have it, but at Roland Garros Federer "did the dirty work" for Nadal by taking out his main threat. I think it'll happen again at Wimbledon. Another brilliant Federer performance in the semi, then a loss of belief against his nemesis in the final. Murray was superb at Queens but I can't see him standing up to Nadal mentally in a Wimbledon semi final.

  • Comment number 45.

    "I think this is a dream draw for Nadal as he could now win without having to play the one man who doesn't have an inferiority complex about him - Djokovic"

    Is that why Nole's (Djokovic) has never beaten Nadal at a Slam and Murray is the only one of the top 4 to have done (twice) so in recent times?

    I realise Murray has been beaten twice at Wimbledon, by Nadal - but as I stated at least he's beaten him in some slams in the last 3 years, unlike the World No's 2&3

  • Comment number 46.

    I rate Murray as easily the best British player I've ever seen (I'm only 31 mind you). He is, in some ways, unfortunate that he has the strongest competition I can remember at the top of the game.

    Is he good enough to win Wimbledon? Yes. I think he is. The trouble is that there are 3 other guys who are also plenty good enough to win Wimbledon, and unfortunately for Murray are just a little better than he is at the moment. I sincerely believe that he will win a slam at some point, could be this year, could be next and it could be any but (probably) Roland Garros. He's a steady 4th favourite here for me.

    The other factor to consider is that there are a few other players around who are not good enough to win the whole thing, but might just produce a performance good enough to oust one of the top 4, so I predict that at least one of them will go out before the semis. Could be Murray, could be one of the others. Tsonga looked good on grass at Queens, if somebody has a dip he will see them off. Roddick wilted against Murray, but while he only has two real weapons (serve and forehand), when they click on grass he's very tough to play against, and then there are players like Soderling and del Potro who have enough firepower to trouble anyone on their day.

    I think we have a great tournament in prospect. Can't wait. I'd like to see Murray win it, but in any case there will be some great matches.

  • Comment number 47.

    my money's on RF,he's hitting form at the right time,not sure about Rafa! some things gone from his game,and am not the only one see this! as for Nole..i think he or Murray will play RF in the Final..i people have to remember RF own's SW19 7 finals.. 6 wins one loss..and soon to be 7..

  • Comment number 48.

    This has got to be a joke? Murray as a genuine contender?! Only if the other 3 are struck down by bubonic plague .

    Recent performances provide little comfort for his chances becasue Murray is mentally weak.

    If he wins Ill eat your hat Jonathan.

  • Comment number 49.

    #43 Marord
    I don't agree that there's depth in the womens' game - there's such a tiny number of women who can handle the pressure of a slam that those tournaments become "equalisers". Wozniaki is a great example - all conquering in the lower level tournaments, feet of clay in the slams. Her opponents don't suddenly become world beaters, she just chokes and drops to their level. It's absurd that the Williams sisters can take such long enforced absences and come back on the eve of Wimbledon and be considered contenders, but they are because the field is so weak. Clijsters is a champion and her absence makes this Wimbledon look threadbare. The likes of Zvonoreva and Azarenks have talent but not belief. We might see a surprise finalist but IMO the only realistic contenders for the win are Sharapova, Li Na, Serena and Venus.

  • Comment number 50.

    #43 Marord
    I completly dissagree with you. There is soo much strengh in dept in the Men's game atm. Behind the top 4 we have seen the likes of Del Potro and Soderling win/get the the final of slams. Even Berdych go to the final here last year and Tsonga has got to the final of the Australian. There are others, Monfiles springs to mind who have the talent and behind them there are players like Ferrer who are serious pro's with formidable records and are models of consistency. In the womens game yeah its more unpridictable, but don't confuse that with it being better or having more strengh in dept, becuase if you go to watch the top ranked female players you simple don't know what to expect. You could get a classic match or more likly 1 of them won't turn up and its not exciting at all.

  • Comment number 51.

    This article is ever so slightly fanning the flames of hyperbole with regards to a certain Scottish tennis player. To be expected before Wimbledon I guess.....

    I have nothing against Murray and would like to see him win it but he is clearly the 4th best player in the world - a fair bit better than 5-10 but clearly not as good as 1-3. At his best he is no match for the top three at their best and for people stating that Murray has an encouraging H2H are forgetting that his successes against them are coming in the smaller tournaments where the top 3 are not necessarily going at full kilter.

    Murray will play to form and make the semis again. He is no choker and has only let himself down in three GS finals where he was never going to win but failed to make a good fight of it but he won't win it. Will be happy to be proved wrong but I can't see it.

  • Comment number 52.

    #3 - "Djoks,i feel sorry for him,what a great player he is,but born at the wrong time."

    What are you talking about?

  • Comment number 53.

    45 banbrotam
    I take your point about past results but IMO Djokovic is a completely different player this year, and his wins against Nadal on clay, particularly in Madrid, have changed the dynamic between the two players. I'm not knocking Murray and I thought his performance in the US semi in 2008 was staggering, but I think right now he lacks the final touch of self belief against Nadal (so does Federer, so AM isn't in bad company). I think the problem is Nadal's so relentless, he just wears down the other guy's belief. Djokovic has started to turn the tables this year not because he's more talented than Murray (I don't think he is) but because he hits it just as hard and chases it just as hard Nadal, and since the Davis Cup win he is playing with a level of pride and confidence I've rarely seen in any player. Sorry to go slightly off topic but that Davis Cup win was the springboard for all Djokovic's achievements this year. The new Serbia is a young, proud country, he's led them to their greatest sporting achievement and since that win he's playing for something far more than himself. Nadal to win Wimbledon, Djokovic to win US Open, Del Potro to be back in the top 5 by the end of the year.

  • Comment number 54.

    DJ

    I agree with your analysis about Nole and actually it's not 'off topic' to discuss his Davis Cup win as that was the springboard

    However, I've never been convinced that he's a lover of grass. Out of all the four, he slides into the shot more - something that is nigh on impossible on grass. Murray takes shots on the run. Fed has such a fantastic touch from impossible angles that his movement always appears good and Nadal of course relies on the bounce.

    Also, it will be interesting to see how Djokovic follows up his run

    However, I actually think that both he and Murray are ready to make the final here and so I'll put my neck on the block and anticipate that we'll have the second Murray v Djokovic slam final of the last three.

    Incidentally, I expect these two to contest at least 10 in the next 6 years - other than Nadal, none of the other players of their age of just under (including Del Potro) come anywhere near their all round skills

  • Comment number 55.

    There are people on this thread that are actually hoping for a Nadal/Federer final despite them being seeded 1 & 3.
    Still, that is far more likely than Murray winning the event as he simply does not have what it takes. When things go wrong for him, he doesnt get even, he gets angry, loses concentration and beats himself.
    It has to be Nadal for me, he competes at a different level, when the chips are down, his belief and iron-will to succeed see him through.

  • Comment number 56.

    @54 banbrotam
    banbrotam old chap, I see that youve put your "neck on the block" and anticipated a Murray/Djokovic Wimbledon Final despite the fact they are seeded 2 & 4 and drawn to meet in the semis. I am surprised that you still have a head on your shoulders.

  • Comment number 57.

    Every year before Wimbledon the media talk up Murray, just like they used to talk up Henman. Then, when he has to play one of the top players he fails, again just like Henman. Murray has won plenty of smaller tournaments and will plenty more. But the Grand Slams are a different story and mentally he's not up to it. I am sure most journalists realise this by now, but it doesn't seem to stop the hype.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ banbotram

    You still fail to hear, or possibly stubbornly ignore, my argument.


    'I was a critic of Lendl at the time and came out with the same 'mentally too weak' arguments. However, it's clear that his opposition was too good at the time in comparison to the younger man

    Indeed the comparisons are startling. Connors was a similar age to Fed. Mac to Nadal and Lendl to Murray"

    Yes, completely agree, BUT MCENROE AND CONNERS ARE VERY LITTLE ON FEDERER AND NADAL.

    It IS HARDER to win a slam now, Federer and Nadal are the two greatest ever in my opinion, so how can the comparison be drawn??!? Lendl played in an age which the top players were not so imperious. Murray has a mountain to climb if he wants to win a major, Lendl had merely a steep hill.

    Anyway, your argument that labeling Murray as 'weak minded' is weak is correct. But if you read my post again that isn't the point I'm making. My intention was to imply that he is WEAKER than Nadal and Federer mentally, which is not surprising nor a criticism. If Murray throws a two set lead in a Wimbledon final against Nicolas Almagro than that argument may have some foundation - however being beaten twice in a Slam final by a sublime Federer and once by a brilliant Djokovic does not make him mentally weak, I agree.

    Although once again you fail to grasp the monumental difference between winning a masters series event and a Grandslam. Murray has proven he can win, but that does not prove he can win Wimbledon. Players are remembered for what they do in the Grandslams - the extra pressure that comes with that is worth 10 masters series titles. Same concept in golf. Westwood, Garcia etc have won countless times around the globe - yet they still can't get over the line in the Majors. I believe that Murray will win slams, but please don't interpret masters series victories as a guarantee to Major success. They aren't.

  • Comment number 59.

    Only just discovered this and while I really enjoy the discussion of what is clearly a great era for men's tennis it's surprising to see the amount of heat generated and personal attacks. Nadaliator seems to be a pretty experienced poster but having written quite as much as he/she has it's bit disappointing to see the withering comments personally directed towards others in such a sneering fashion when as @hoppers points out, the comments were pretty obviously ironic about Nadal only being good on clay - that much is clear from the personal info on the @hoppers's Blog had it been read. Nadaliator is not alone in this ad hominem approach though, and as a first time poster I'd have thought bit more generosity towards others all round wouldn't go amiss on what is a really interesting, but ultimately subjective subject.

  • Comment number 60.

    Agree 100% it's never been tougher to win a slam that it is now. This era has seen the greatest ever grass court player, Federer, who's adaptable enough to win slams on clay, and the greatest ever clay court player, Nadal, who's adaptable enough to win slams on grass. And they're both adaptable enough to win on hard courts. In this era Djokovic's two wins is already a decent career. By the way, the "Murray's just like Henman" comments should stay on the tabloid sports pages where they belong. Henman was a very good player who made the most of his ability and did well to peak at no 4. Murray's a sublimely gifted player who's good enough to win a slam on any surface, but needs to climb over geniuses to get there. Is Murray a better player than Petr Korda, Albert Costa or back further Andres Gomez, Johan Kriek or Brian Teacher? Of course he is. They won slams in the Sampras/Agassi and Lendl/McEnroe/Borg eras but wouldn't have had a prayer today. Murray hasn't got over the line yet but that doesn't mean he's a a no hoper (or a certainty). Until you actually win one it's always maybe.

  • Comment number 61.

    Lendal in my view was the 3rd best tennis player off all time! behind Federer no1 and borg..no 2... p.s if Rafa is no1 seed and fed no 3 will they not meet in the semi's!!

  • Comment number 62.

    heres a fact for all of you defending andy murray. as good as he is and as many of the titles hes won the FACT is hes never won on or even looked like beating a top 3 player in a grand slam... 3 sets is all well and good but he cant seem to do it for 5 agauinst top players. if he gets nadal or fed and it goes to a 5th set theres only ever one winner because murrays attitude when it gets tough is awful. nothing against the lad he CAN win it but he neeeds to get that mental block that stops him from edging games against the likes of nadal before he can do it. nadal, fed n even djokovic all have the ability to pull off wins even if matches go the distance. murray right now still lacks that, hes choked every time hes got to a slam semi/ or final.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ Kane

    Before you slag off other peoples predictions for this years final I advise taking a read of this article....

    http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/80497,sport,other-sport,wimbledon-draw-andy-roddick-and-rafael-nadal-loom-for-andy-murray

    Hmmmmm, Andy Murray seeded to face Rafa in the semis this year, not Novak!!

    I'm surprised that YOU have a head on YOUR shoulders!

  • Comment number 64.

    #62 youve been vermaelenated thats just fabrelous
    Sorry, but your facts aren't factually correct. Murray took Nadal apart in the US semis in 2008 at a time when Nadal was undisputed No 1. He might have stumbled in finals and I agree he isn't as strong as the top three but on that perfromance alone there's hope that he can make the breakthrough (as I've said in previous posts I don't think it'll come this summer but I don't have a crystal ball and I'd love him to prove me wrong)

  • Comment number 65.

    You've been Vermaelenated - another bored footie fan spouting "facts" about tennis which are quite clearly wrong.

    Murray has beaten Rafa twice in Slams (US & Oz) and his 2-3 record against him is far better than anyone else Inc Federer.

    Yes he might not win it this year it's no disgrace being the 4th best in the world at anything. Once he wins his 1st slam, which will be soon I can honestly see him winning 5/6.

    This time last year no-one was mentioning Djoko and now look at him....!

    C'mon Andy !!!

  • Comment number 66.

    #62

    On top of what #64 said he took Nadal to 5 at the Aussie Open in 2007 and was 2 sets up when Nadal retired during their 2010 match at the same tournament.

    Sure Murray's attitude gets pretty bad, but it clearly doesn't prevent him from clawing back amazing comebacks.

    Sure it wasn't a 5th set, but was it not "tough" when Nadal was up 5-1 in the 1st set against Murray at the French Open? A few games later Nadal is having to produce incredible tennis to prevent it going 5-5.

  • Comment number 67.

    DJ@44

    My thoughts exactly , would love a Federer win but I am not expecting one.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ 67 ditto.

    @ 61, Simon, can you seriously rate Lendl # 3 all time, when he never won Wimbledon, & I would argue Mac from his era was better than him, tho he ended up winning less slams. Definitely Laver would rate above him in my book, & Nadal.

    Unabashed plug for my blog featuring Wimbledon preview
    http://ronstersramblings.blogspot.com/2011/06/class-apart.html

  • Comment number 69.

    @63 PaulsW
    Game, set and match you. :(

  • Comment number 70.

    Murray will never win a Grand Slam, doesnt have the mental bottle for it, always cracks, Fed Djok final

  • Comment number 71.

    i think Federer did great at the french but he has this inferiority complex when playing Nadal and that was why he lost the game. if he can improve on his performance at the french open, then he would get to the final. the likely people to get to final are; Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
    Personally, i wish Federer wins

  • Comment number 72.

    None of the top four are capable of making many more great strides. The next generation is already on its way. Murray may be the youngest at 24 but that is beginning to get on in tennis terms. His technique on both forehand and serve is mechanical and ugly and unsuited to grass. His mindset always centres on blaming other people as well. It would seem Fed isn't strong enough anymore, while Nadal shouldn't be winning on grass with his style of play. Saying that, many players can string together two weeks of good tennis so it's anyone's game this time. The Michael Stich's, Patrick Rafter's and Richard Krajicek's should have won countless titles at SW19 with their natural ability and skill on grass but it wasn't the case, therefore why not Djokovic for the title.

  • Comment number 73.

    None of the top four are capable of making many more great strides. The next generation is already on its way. Murray may be the youngest at 24 but that is beginning to get on in tennis terms. His technique on both forehand and serve is mechanical and ugly and unsuited to grass. His mindset always centres on blaming other people as well. It would seem Fed isn't strong enough anymore, while Nadal shouldn't be winning on grass with his style of play. Saying that, many players can string together two weeks of good tennis so it's anyone's game this time. The Michael Stich's, Patrick Rafter's and Richard Krajicek's should have won countless titles at SW19 with their natural ability and skill on grass but it wasn't the case, therefore why not Djokovic for the title.

  • Comment number 74.

    My order of preference: Murray, Federer, Nadal/Djokovic.

    The order of likeliness: Nadal, Federer/Djokovic, Murray.

  • Comment number 75.

    Pretty open tournament.....

    I think realistically Federer or Nadal will win. They have proven records on grass (Roger has a game made for grass, and Rafa always surprises me with how good his grass court movement is). It will depend a lot on Nadal's fitness, and Roger's form (he hits good and bad patches in his slightly older age).

    I don't think Novak will do it... he could be struggling for confidence.

    As for Murray, there's people who say he's rubbish, and people who think he's the best. The truth is, his ranking pretty much realistically shows where he is, fourth favourite. I can see him getting to the semis, but he'll then need to play two fantastic matches to pick up his first slam. I think he can do it, but I believe it's not very likley. I believe he will win a slam or possibly two during his career, but probably on hardcourts.

  • Comment number 76.

    A pretty fair analysis and I expect the same Semi Final lineup as we had a few weeks ago in Paris. Del Potro could upset Nadal early though this it unlikely (its his weakest surface and he may not even make it that far)

    Djoko will be fine and should still retain his confidence, likewise Murray but Nadal will be in the Final come the end of the second week. He will have too much again for AM. As for Federer, if he plays like he did in Paris and there is no reason to suggest he won't at his favourite Slam, I can see a repeat of the 2008 final with the same result...Nadal in 4 or 5.

    Fed is three years older than he was in 08 and the bottom line is it will feature a man at the top of his powers Vs a man 2/3 years past his...Fed faded badly in the fourth set at RG and his fitness and durability must be question now if he can't get it done early in the match. His inability to close out the first set in Paris cost him the match.

    However if Fed slips down a notch form wise, I can see Djok getting to the final where an upset could definatly on the cards.

    So, either Nadal or Djoko to win this time...sadly, I don't think Fed will win another Slam (Djok and Nadal are to strong now IMO for him when it really counts) and Murray will have to wait for Flushing Meadow for his best chance.

  • Comment number 77.

    I swear a lot of people who come on here and slag Murray off haven't watched much tennis over the past few weeks. This Wimbledon is the most open for years, and I would say that this blog is spot on placing Fed as the marginal favourite. Nadal produces when it matters, but whether he can do this on grass in his current form- balls aside, he was patchy for 5/7 matches at the french, and looked pretty dismal on grass by his standards at Queens. Murray is peaking at the right time, but he will have to pull out all the stops to beat any of the other 3.

    Djokovic, I can't really figure out. He's been the best player this year and obviously has a great chance, but I've never thought him to be that convincing at Wimbly, and I'm not sure if his miraculous recovery skills can be as effective on grass.

    My prediction...Murray to beat Nadal, then lose to Fed in 4 sets in the final, whereupon everyone will state that he is never going to win a slam.

  • Comment number 78.

    Murray quite clearly has the ability to win a grand slam but he doesn't have the mental strength. Too often he beats himself up after a mistake and you can see he can't let go of it in the following points. The greats play each point on their own merit and until Murray learns to do this he'll be playing second fiddle to the top three.

  • Comment number 79.

    If we want a Brit to win, don't rely on Murray go for Jock O'Vitch. He sounds part Scottish and part Irish.


  • Comment number 80.

    Good summary on here. I guess there is the argument that Federer is slight favourite due to his unbelievable record at Wimbledon, but I think there are many different factors to consider. Both Djokovic and Federer have not played competitive tournaments since Roland Garros, so you could argue that they will be fresh going into Wimbledon. Then you have Nadal who was clearly out of sorts after Roland Garros, subsequently losing to Tsonga in the quarters of Queen's. Murray has arguably had the best preparation in terms of playing time and mentality on the grass. All these factors combined look to make these next two weeks very interesting.

    One of the key things in Murray's favour is that he has adopted a more aggressive approach to his matches particularly in the last 9 or 10 months. The matches that he has lost to Nadal have been settled by a couple of key points in tie breakers or the odd break of serve. He hasn't been that far away and has taken on a more attacking brand of tennis. He has also faced Nadal twice at Wimbledon and will have learnt a great deal from those two occasions.

    The main thing that Murray needs to block out is all the negative thoughts and reactions that he shows when he misses shots or has winners hit past him. If he keeps looking up to his team in the stands then he will continue to dwell upon things which will hinder his game. In matches against Nadal, Djokovic and Federer you can ill-afford to allow your opponent to target any weakness, mental or physical.

    Let's hope Murray finally silences the critics and produces a glorious Wimbledon!

  • Comment number 81.

    1.At 17:04 16th Jun 2011, meninwhitecoats wrote:

    'Murray will have done well to make the semis.'

    -----------------------------------

    Wow, condescending! Done well to make the same stage he reached in the last two years?

  • Comment number 82.

    @ Nadaliator wrote: And how many times was Nadal injured during those wins?

    Always! It's well known that Nadal is injured every time he loses. Just ask Uncle Toni.

    Sorry, but your comment called out for a snide response.

  • Comment number 83.

    Nice piece and you're right, it's great to see men's tennis in such great health!

    I think the Fed might just slip in there again this year. Djok has the game but not the nous on grass to beat a Fed on form. Murray still has to prove he can stick his head above the others and win a major.

    Rafa is permanent obstacle to everyone.

  • Comment number 84.

    Don't think anyone's mentioned this yet - what has made Nadal and Federer so great over the past number of years is their ability to play the big points so well. Even so often when the match seems close they still manage to win in straight sets. Got to be one of those two or me. Head and heart both say Nadal is too strong!

  • Comment number 85.

    Interesting point for those who think Murray isn't good enough to beat the best in slams:

    How many times has Nadal been beaten by Federer, Murray or Djokovic in slams in the last 3 seasons? Only twice. Incredible record, isn't it.

    Who were those defeats to? Andy Murray. Both times.

  • Comment number 86.

    I can see Murray winning Wimbledon if he faces someone other than one of the big three in the semis. If he plays a big three player in the semis then that will be his final. Murray's problem is his fitness, he is unable to play at his best in consecutive matches against the big three particularly if he has a very hard match in winning the first.
    For me it's Federer this year, his record at Wimbledon is the best in history. Over 8 years, 6 WINS, 1 FINALIST, 1 SEMI and he believes he can beat Nadal here with his normal game whereas at RG he goes into the matches against Nadal expecting to get beat.

  • Comment number 87.

    Why are people so quick to write Djokovic off?

    All I'm seeing is people saying Djoko will lose his form and wont challenge almost as if they're hoping that will be the case.

    People are saying that Federer vs Nadal is the 'dream' final which is understandable but screw that I'd like to see a 5 set Djokovic vs Nadal war.

  • Comment number 88.

    "Make no mistake, all four can win it."

    I always thought the BBC were supposed to be impartial. Do they really expect us to believe that Murray, who has totally imploded whenever he's come up against one of the other top four players in a grand slam final, has a realistic chance of winning here?

    Yes he is a world class player, no one should be in any doubt about that. However, one cannot ignore the fact that there is a huge gulf in class between Murray and the others (Djokovic, Nadal and Federer) which becomes increasingly clear every time he goes down to one of them in straight sets in a grand slam final. Why should it be any different this time?

  • Comment number 89.

    Federer had won 10 Grand Slam titles before his 26th birthday. Nadal, at 25, is about 11 months older than Murray and has also won 10 Grand Slam titles.
    Murray may still be getting better, but so are other players. Djjokovic is a week younger than Murray and looks as if he may have now made that last step-up. I fear that if Murray doesn't win a slam in the next 15 months, then he may never do so.

    But even if Murray never does win a slam, he will have still have played the most exciting tennis that I have ever seen from any UK player.

  • Comment number 90.

    Spaced Invader
    Wow condescending! Done well to make the same stage he reached in the last two years?

    Happy to eat humble pie if Murray proves me wrong and more importantly a Murray final would improve Federer's chances in the final :-)


  • Comment number 91.

    Andy Murray is undoubtedly a fine tennis player however please stop telling me that as a Englishman I should be hoping he wins Wimbledon for Great Britain. Tennis is an individual sport - he does not represent me, Gt Britain or even Scotland for that matter. I would far rather support sportsmen (and brilliant players) like Federer or Nadal than Murray. If and when he can bother to represent us in a team game ie Davis Cup or Olympics I might change my mind. I suspect that the majority of English people who are interested in tennis do not wish to support Murray, lets hope for a fine European winner!

  • Comment number 92.


    Wishing the tennis fraternity a jolly good time at the prestigious GS at Wimbledon.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

 

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