World number three and Britain’s great tennis hope, Andy Murray, has told CNN he is ready to win Wimbledon at this year’s tournament.
The 22-year-old kicks off his bid to become the first home-grown player to win the men’s title at the All England Club for 73 years, when he takes on America’s Robby Kendrick today. Kendrick, the world 76, has lost all three of his previous meetings with Murray, boosting the Scot’s hopes he can match Fred Perry’s feat of lifting the title back in 1936. “This year I feel I’m ready to win a slam, whether that be Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, I feel that physically I’m ready and I’m mature enough to do this now,” Murray told CNN. Watch Murray’s interview » “I’m not going to get ahead of myself I’ll just focus on the first match this year and try and play as well as possible,” said Murray, who played in his first grand slam final at the U.S. Open last year. “I’ve always enjoyed playing on grass, the hard surface is my favorite and best surface, but the difference with grass is there are less guys who are comfortable playing on it, so that makes a difference to your chances at an event – there are less guys I can lose to,” Murray added. The three seed for the tournament carries good form in to the event after recently winning Queen’s, a grass-based Wimbledon warm-up tournament. It was the first time a Briton had won since Bunny Austin’s victory in 1938 and could prove a good omen for the Scot, as many former winners, including current world number one Rafael Nadal, have followed the victory with a win at Wimbledon.
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A fact that prompted Tim Henman, former British number one and four-time Wimbledon semifinalist, to back his compatriot’s chances. “Roger Federer has a great grass-court-record, but Murray winning Queen’s has been the ideal preparation for the tournament. Henman also said the home crowd will prove an advantage for Murray: “As a British player, playing with the home support, there’s no denying it is a help and a fantastic place to come to. Watch Henman talk to CNN » “You don’t pay a great deal of attention to all the fuss as you’re focused on your preparation and practice. The hype and the press is never something you think about so it’s probably easier than most people suspect.” “The crowd is able to help you when you need it but I don’t think the pressure will affect Murray — the home ground is definitely a boost rather than a burden,” the 34-year-old added. A sentiment the Scotsman agreed with: “The support I got at Queen’s was great. Wimbledon for the last few years, I’ve had fantastic support too so I hope that continues. “All of the grand slams are very different but Wimbledon allows me to play in front of a home crowd. To do that at a grand slam, at probably the most prestigious tournament in the world, is special for me,” Murray told CNN. Murray has also benefited from the withdrawal of reigning champion Nadal, who knocked him out of the quarterfinals last year and was on course to meet the Scot in the semifinals of the Championships had both progressed successfully this time around. If Murray is able to be successful in his quest for the title, Henman is adamant there is no better trophy to win: “The grand slams are the pinnacle of the game but it’s Wimbledon’s tradition and history that stands it apart from the rest.
“I think if you were to ask around the dressing room or speak to the top one hundred players then 75 percent of both the women and men would say if they could only win one tournament in their lifetime it would be Wimbledon, it’s that special.” Tim Henman will be coaching celebrities to entertain the queuing crowds outside of Wimbledon in conjunction with Robinson.