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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Murray ready for title push

Photo Titled Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Andy Murray has given his fans the news they wanted to hear, declaring: “I’m ready to win a Grand Slam.”

The world No.3 believes that the time has come to break his duck in the four majors, and is ready for a fortnight of Murray-mania at SW19.

“I'd obviously love to win here,” said the Scot. “ I enjoy playing on grass and I love playing at Wimbledon.“

Murray reached the final of the US Open last year before a fourth round exit in Australia in January. He lost to Fernando Gonzalez in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros last month.

These are all solid credentials, which have been boosted by his success at Queen's a week ago, when he collected his first title on home turf - and crucially his first on grass.

“I feel like I'm ready to win a Grand Slam now, whereas last year I might not have been. But I understand how difficult it is. It's not an easy thing to do.”

Murray's chances have been boosted by the withdrawal of last year’s winner Rafael Nadal because of injury. But the British No.1 is frustrated that he will not get the chance to avenge last year’s quarter-final defeat to the eventual winner.

“I enjoy watching him play. He's my favourite player to watch, so I'm sure the fans wanted to come to see him will all be disappointed. But he's got to do what's best for him.”

Murray starts his campaign on Tuesday taking on American Robert Kendrick, the man he beat 6-0, 6-0 the last time the pair met at Rhode Island in 2006.

But the Scot insists there will be no complacency: “I'm focusing totally on the first round, not looking past him at all. He's a tough grass‑court player. He has a big game. He plays very aggressive and takes a lot of chances. So, no, no chance of me underestimating him.”

The man from Dunblane remembers the atmosphere while watching Tim Henman as a youngster. And he believes the home crowd can help him achieve what Henman could not – and become the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win at the All England Club.

“I did watch quite a few of Tim’s matches in the last few years of his career. The support was great. I think anytime you can play in front of a home crowd in any sport is a huge advantage.

“You've got 15,000 people behind you. Tim, I'm sure, played some of the best tennis of his career here. I think the crowd has something to do with that.”

And what would a Murray triumph on Sunday 5 July mean for British tennis?

“It's been such a long time, and people have been waiting for it for - well, forever now. I'm sure it would be huge, huge news for quite a few weeks."

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