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Murray should be extremely proud, says Henman

Tim Henman at Wimbledon praises Andy Murray's success
by Alexandra Willis
Wednesday 12 September 2012

Tim Henman talked to Wimbledon.com about Andy Murray's US Open victory, and why he believes that there will be more major titles to come...

"It was an amazing performance, I think the quality of tennis from both guys in very difficult conditions was first class.

There were so many critical moments, so many swings in the momentum. At the end of the first set, for Murray to win that tie-break was huge. He’s up 4-0 in no time in the second set and you think he’s going to run away with it, but then Djokovic comes right back, and again Murray was very, very strong mentally, he didn’t get frustrated. He got up two sets to love, and again then Djokovic has got nothing to lose, he’s pretty much out of the match and you know there’s going to be a reaction.

I wouldn’t necessarily say Andy’s level dropped, I think Djokovic’s level improved, and suddenly probably an hour and a half later you’re two sets all. There would have been so much going on his mind having lost in four Slam finals, this one being up two sets to love, to show that mental fortitude and then get off to such a good start and dominate the fifth set is incredibly impressive.

I think certainly in the first three Grand Slam finals he played, I almost felt there was a sense of panic when things didn’t go right, and that’s hard because he was playing against some of the best players in the history of the game. But certainly his performance in the Wimbledon final was very impressive against Federer, his performance in the Olympic final was even better, so I think those have been huge learning curves for him.

I know his career better than most and when you look at all the hurdles he’s had to overcome, all the questions that have been asked of him, he’s come up with an answer every time. It was talk about his physical fitness when he came on the tour and it was Djokovic that was struggling in the fifth; it was question marks about his mental attitude and concentration on the court and he was the one that was able to stay focused; talk about his first serve percentage, it was 65% in that match. When you add that all together, to me it’s no great surprise that he won the tournament.

Beating Djokovic I think will make it even sweeter if that’s possible. Djokovic was the defending champion, he’s won five Slams himself, they’ve been huge rivals all the way through the juniors, so there’s a lot of history there, but enormous amount of respect for each other. So to play nearly five hours and to win in five sets, I’m sure it will take time to sink in, but he should be extremely proud of what he’s achieved.

I think Lendl’s persona works very well for Andy. When you look at Ivan there’s almost two different people because off the court he’s got a very good sense of humour, very sarcastic, very amusing, whereas when he’s on the court that’s his work. I think that was reflected when he played, it wasn’t a popularity contest, it was about him being the best player he could be, and for him to do that and be the best player he had to be very focused, he wasn’t laughing and cracking jokes. There is no emotion when he’s watching the matches, there’s nothing Ivan can do up in the box, so there’s no point in jumping up and down or shouting and screaming, Andy’s the one who’s got to deliver. But having someone in his corner who’s achieved so much and experienced so many of the things that Andy has I think has been a huge asset. I don’t necessarily think it’s been a huge input into his game technically, I think he’s doing a few things differently, but certainly that calmness under pressure has improved.

I do think this is just the start. I’ve always said, you look at Andy’s history and he’s been the best in the world at pretty much every age group, he’s won at every level, and I think now, the way his game is going, he could win many, many more. The exciting aspect is I still think there are things he can still do better. He can be a little bit more aggressive on his second serve, his forehand can be erratic at times, I think he could probably attack second serves even better. If he can do that and he’s already winning Grand Slams then…

I almost want to say there was a sense of inevitably, but that would be disrespectful for Djokovic. But when you think about what’s happened in British sport and the events of the last two months, it’s just been incredible, and this really is the icing on the cake.


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