Andy Murray knows importance of hitting form at Queen’s
ANDY Murray hopes a successful defence of his AEGON Championships crown at Queen’s will help him end Britain’s long wait for a Wimbledon champion next month.
With Novak Djokovic and yesterday’s newly-crowned French Open champion Rafael Nadal dominating the men’s game, there seems little chance of this summer being the first time a Briton has won the men’s singles title at the All England Club since Fred Perry lifted the trophy in 1936. Djokovic and Nadal have faced each other in the last four grand slam finals, and Murray’s chances of winning his home tournament seem bleak after he exited the French Open last week at the last-eight stage, although he was troubled by a back injury.
The Scot remains confident he can buck the trend and win Wimbledon this year, but admits his performance at Queen’s will be crucial to his chances of success at SW19.
Murray will have to wait until tomorrow before he begins his defence of the Wimbledon warm-up tournament after heavy rain hit Queen’s yesterday, but he is ready to start the grass court season with a bang.
“I’ve always liked to go into a grand slam having played a couple of matches on the surface,” said Murray, who is due to face either Nicolas Mahut or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez after receiving a first-round bye. “That’s why it’s good for me to play here at Queen’s
“I’ve won Queen’s and I have always enjoyed playing here. I like the surface, the courts here are pretty much perfect grass courts and I have great memories from here.
“I won my very first ATP match here when I was 18 and since then I’ve just really enjoyed coming back and I’ve got great
results here.” Djokovic and Nadal’s exhibition of top-drawer tennis in Roland Garros will do little to suggest their monopoly on the game is about to end, but Murray has warned the duo not to expect to walk Wimbledon because of their exploits in Paris.
“You’ll very rarely see someone make the French finals and then win on grass the next week,” said Murray, who has won at Queen’s twice in the past three years.
“It’s a hard thing to do and it takes a bit of time. The surface change is hard. You try to go into every tournament with the mentality of winning it, otherwise there’s not much point in being there. You try and take each match as it comes but changing surfaces is not that easy.”
Murray’s own French Open campaign looked in doubt when he suffered a back spasm during his second-round game against Jarkko Nieminen but he recovered and went on to make the quarter-finals, where he lost to world No 6 David Ferrer in four sets.
The 25-year-old insists his injury will not prevent him from being at full fitness for Wimbledon, and claims an early exit at Roland Garros will help aid his recovery.
“I didn’t want to lose early at the French Open but I managed to get a couple of days off, which I hadn’t had in three-and-a-half to four weeks,” he added. “I really needed that for my back and it’s felt much better. I’ve had a couple of good practices on the grass and it’s felt fine.
“I think the French Open went really well considering how it started out. It could have ended up being a lot worse. I wasn’t feeling particularly well obviously after my second-round match. It was decent I think. Quarter- finals for me on probably my least favourite surface is not terrible. I would have liked to have done better but it was okay.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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