Henman has every confidence as Murray gets ready for US Open

26 August 2013 / 18:57

As Andy Murray prepared for his Wimbledon final earlier this summer he was asked what Fred Perry might say to him as encouragement.

Showing the same reactions that dispatched Novak Djokovic in a memorable final, he deadpanned: "He'd ask me why I wasn't wearing his kit". It was his easily the best return of a journalist's question all fortnight.

Murray's career has always been tied to Perry, the last British men’s winner at the All England Club, who died when the Scot was only seven.

He had hoped that his storied win on SW19's manicured lawns might move the narrative on but history returns to haunt him again ahead of the US Open.

Because the last British man to win back-to-back Grand Slams was Perry, winning Wimbledon in 1936 and triumphing at the US Open a few weeks later, the last of his ten major titles.

And Perry is also the last British man to retain a Grand Slam title, winning Wimbledon in 1935 and 1936, something which Murray will seek to emulate at Flushing Meadows.
Murray has been slow to return to action, losing to Latvia's Ernests Gulbis in Montreal and Tomas Berdych at the Cincinnati Masters, an event he has won twice.

But Tim Henman, another British player who knows how tough it is to step out of the shadow of Perry, believes Murray has got his preparations spot on.

"After his performance in the summer over here at Queens and then Wimbledon, it was incredible and one of the best sporting performances in any sport in Britain for many years," he said.

"It was always going to take him a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things with a different surface and different conditions and a new status and as he has pointed out this is the lead up to the US Open.

"I am sure he will be ready to go. He was perhaps a little bit underdone in Montreal and Gulbis is a good player and if you are not quite on his game you will lose.

"But I think that emphasises just how good a performance it was at Wimbledon because the margins are very small but he just played incredibly well.

"Wimbledon is only going to give him more confidence going to New York and he knows what it takes to win there."

Despite the shocks that reverberated around the All England Club this year, Henman sees the final Slam of the season as a three-way race between the defending champion, world number one Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

"After Wimbledon people were saying Nadal wouldn't be able to play because of his knees but he has come out on hard courts which is historically the toughest surface for his knees and won his 25th Masters Series," he added.

"Novak is still world No.1, you can't forget that. He beat Murray in the Australian Open and reached the Wimbledon final so it's a great season.

"Andy may have been a bit undercooked in Canada but it's a new phase now and, if anything, I think he will be even more confident than last year.

"It is not going to get any easier for Roger Federer. He's 32 and still capable of playing great tennis but I think it will only be harder for him to do it on a consistent basis so it's between Murray, Nadal and Djokovic."

© Sportsbeat 2013