Tim Henman predicts a deluge of grand slam wins for Andy Murray
ANDY Murray’s maiden grand slam title at the US Open yesterday could signal the start of a collection of major silverware, according to former British No 1 Tim Henman.
Henman well knows the burden Murray has shouldered since bursting on to the scene in 2005, shortly before the four-times Wimbledon semi-finalist retired having failed to end Britain’s interminable wait for a men’s grand slam champion.
Murray’s five-set victory over Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows finally retired the worn-out statistic of Fred Perry being the last British man to win a major 76 years ago.
“I definitely see him going on to win more [grand slam titles],” Henman told the BBC. “How many he can win only time will tell. The Olympics and this will give him so much confidence.
“I said the first one would be the hardest but I think it will be the first of many, I really do.”
Murray’s first season under coach Ivan Lendl this year also brought an Olympic gold medal in London before his triumph in New York.
“It was certainly his time. The most important aspects were his resilience, both mentally and physically.
“He remained calm and was able to produce the goods and really it was Djokovic who was struggling at the end,” added Henman.
Former coach Miles Maclagan did offer a few words of caution, however. “He’s in uncharted territory and he could go one of two ways,” said Maclagan, who helped Murray reach the 2008 US Open final and 2010 Australian Open final.
“Either he’ll absolutely fly for a while and win everything in sight, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see a bit of a lull. You reach a lifetime goal, something you’ve strived for your whole life... you have to take a bit of time to think to set some new goals and build up some determination.”
Former British Davis Cup coach John Lloyd said Murray had put to bed any doubts about his big-match temperament.
“He’s joined the club. We’ve been talking about the big three and Murray being part of the fab four but he had a missing ingredient. However, he’s put that right in spectacular style,” Lloyd said. “He’s made a staggering improvement to the mental side of his game.” Rafael Nadal saluted Murray’s achievement. Injury kept Nadal out of the US Open but the Spaniard, an 11-time grand slam winner, watched as his long-time friend ended his wait for one of the four major titles.
Nadal wrote on Twitter: “Congrats to @andy_murray to achieve his first Grand Slam! He and Nole [Djokovic] has been played a great US Open final, both deserved to win.”
Former British No 1 Greg Rusedski, who tasted defeat to Pat Rafter in the 1997 US Open final, believes Lendl has helped Murray to be mentally tougher.
“At the end of the day he found a way to get it done and found a way to control his emotions,” Rusedski told Sky Sports 1.
“He can thank Ivan Lendl for that. You have to give him so much credit for what he’s done, to keep believing in what he’s done.
“It shows you what a champion he is and, having won this, he can go on to win many majors and maybe end the year as the world number one.”
Great Britain’s Davis Cup coach Leon Smith, who is also head of men’s tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association and was Murray’s first coach of his professional career, knew from an early age his fellow Scot had the talent to go all the way in a grand slam.
Smith told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’m so pleased for Andy, because knowing him you see how much work he’s put in, not just this year but over the years.
“He’s really worked so hard, physically and mentally to get his game to this level.”
Roger Draper, chief executive of British tennis’s governing body the Lawn Tennis Association, believes the win caps a remarkable year for Murray, with the triumph coming off the back of victory over Roger Federer to win Olympic gold at Wimbledon.
Draper said: “We are really proud of Andy and what he has achieved. We see the hard work that he puts in day in and day out. It’s a fantastic achievement for Andy.
“To win the Olympic gold medal, to beat the greatest tennis player [Federer] on Centre Court, to then win the silver [in the Olympic mixed doubles competition] with Laura Robson and then again to go out and be the first British man in 76 years to win a grand slam tournament has been a phenomenal achievement.”
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