Greg Rusedski believes Scot can win medal to end Wimbledon wait
SHOULD Andy Murray win Olympic gold at London 2012, just weeks after another Wimbledon title has slipped through his fingers, the irony would be lost on few – but Greg Rusedski believes it’s the Scot’s best chance of ending his wait for silverware in SW19.
Murray has contested, and failed to win, 26 Grand Slam tournaments and, after recently celebrating his 25th birthday, he failed to buck that trend in Paris with form, confidence and fitness low.
As Murray’s coach, Ivan Lendl’s honeymoon period is over – his charge has a niggling back problem, has not won a trophy since January and has not gone beyond the last eight in his three clay-court appearances this season.
When the circuit moves to Wimbledon’s manicured lawns next week, the three-times Grand Slam runner-up will again be under the microscope with the perennially nationwide outbreak of Murray Mania.
Three weeks further down the line however, the all-white dress code will be waived and the Royal Family will be replaced by the five-ringed circus – and ex-British number one Rusedski believes Murray can be ringmaster. The 25-year-old has been confirmed as the first player in Team GB’s tennis squad for London 2012 this week and Rusedski is backing Murray to win a medal at the Olympic Games.
“Andy is going to be in the right place at the right time and he is going to be in the last four,” said Rusedski, who is a Barclays Ball Kid ambassador.
“So to me that means he is going to, most likely, have a very good chance of a medal and with the home crowd behind him and so with that support he has got a wonderful opportunity.
“But he just has to step up his game like he did at the Australian Open and keep on improving.
“I don’t think we will see this again – not in my lifetime at least. Getting the Olympics in London and, on top of that, at Wimbledon. It is a wonderful year for tennis. There is a lot to play for and a lot of prestigious titles to be won.
“We ask if it is Andy Murray’s year every year but he will definitely be one of the main contenders at London 2012.
“Andy has done fantastically to get to where he is in the world but I can’t see how he can challenge Rafael [Nadal] or Novak [Djokovic] presently.
“Hopefully that will all change, though, when it gets around to the London 2012 Olympic Games.”
Roger Federer has already stated that the pursuit of Olympic gold at Wimbledon – where he has won six titles – is what keeps his fires burning.
But Murray has reached at least the semi-finals of the last five Grand Slams he has played in until last month’s French Open, leaving Rusedski convinced that, if all that glitters is not gold, the Scot is all but guaranteed a place on the Olympic podium.
“If I look at it now, Rafael Nadal has been sensational, added Rusedski. “He has really turned things around in recent weeks.
“Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open while Roger Federer has said his goal is to win the Olympics at Wimbledon.
“That has kept him motivated so he is going to be very hungry for the Wimbledon Championships because he has lost in the quarter-finals for the last two years and then, on top of that, wants to win the gold medal. But, if Andy gets to the last four, then he’s got a very good chance of a medal.”
l For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, you can visit www.barclaysballkids.com
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