Blogs & Opinion


Andy Murray looks in great shape for Wimbledon, says Barry Cowan

Barry Cowan Posted 17th June 2013 view comments

It has been a perfect week for Andy Murray with Wimbledon coming up.

He had plenty of matches by winning at Queen's Club and the way he won the semi-final and final by coming back from a set down will harden him up. Sometimes you want to be pushed with your back to the wall because he will be in trouble at some stage during Wimbledon.

Murray: Returned from injury in style at Queen's

Murray: Returned from injury in style at Queen's

Look at the way his game has developed since he started at Queen's eight years ago. He was obviously someone who had a good understanding of the game but perhaps not in the shape he needed to be at the top.

That's changed. He's now an incredible athlete and has worked so hard physically and to come through a tough week and for his body to be in fine fettle will give him a lot of confidence.

This has to be the most open men's Wimbledon I can remember for a long time. I have Nadal at No 1 and then Murray

Barry Cowan
Quotes of the week

He was on and off the court a few times because of the rain and that can affect the body in terms of stiffness but came through unscathed and demonstrated his great grass court game.

One of the reasons he hired Ivan Lendl to coach him last year was to be aggressive at crucial stages in a game and to be proactive in matches - and he did that on Saturday and Sunday.

His game is really taking shape, now. His second serve is getting better, his forehand has improved and he volleys well, but I still think he can improve. At 26 that's got to be a huge encouragement. He's not the finished article and he can still be a better tennis player.

Even when he's a set down I always think he'll win; his fight and desire is one of his biggest assets.

However, the real test is to come at Wimbledon; if he is a set down against Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal it will come down to more than being able to be tough. Your game comes under scrutiny and, hand on heart, I just don't know what will happen with the top four.

This has to be the most open men's Wimbledon I can remember for a long time. I have Nadal at No 1, then Murray, Djokovic and Federer. The bookies have Novak at No 1 but it will be down to who plays the best tennis over three matches and who takes their chances.

Preparation

If Murray had made the French Open semi-finals then he wouldn't be doing anything physical this week. I imagine he'll have two days off, rest his body and then have two days of hard physical training and also working on his tennis.

If you haven't done the ground work it's too late now. It will be all about fine-tuning and making sure he gets the business side out of the way as quickly as he can like the media work and sponsorship.

Once he gets that out of the way then there's only one thing he can focus on. Distractions are tiring over two weeks and that's something Federer and Nadal have mastered. Murray is still learning this but he's learning fast.

Pressure

We all have opinions and thoughts on how Wimbledon will pan out and importantly Andy needs to have people he listens to in his corner like his coach, physio and trainer. Anybody else is irrelevant.

If they are there they will distract you and that will tire you out because two weeks is a long time if you are distracted by other factors. Murray does read newspapers and listens to what people say. Pete Sampras never read anything at Wimbledon until the Monday when he was getting a flight back home. You have to detach yourself.

Rivals

Murray is my second favourite but Nadal has changed the equation with what he's done this year. It's been an amazing year and an incredible clay court season.

He's done the hard thing by defending his French Open and beating Djokovic. Wimbledon for the Spaniard is still very important but it won't involve the same stresses and strains of Roland Garros. Whatever he achieves now will only benefit his ranking and mentally he's got ahead of Murray. He's beaten him in the big matches.

Nadal has got the edge but strangely he is the most vulnerable player in the first week. He could come up against Ernests Gulbis or Marcos Baghdatis and he'll have more chances of losing.

We know what Djokovic is capable of. Winning in Halle at the weekend will be crucial for Federer because he won't have to fend off the questions about his 10-month title drought and not winning since Cincinnati in August.

Top Brits

Elena Baltacha said she was thinking of quitting tennis after the Olympics last year and, after all her injuries, winning the Aegon Nottingham Challenge title this weekend was a great achievement.

It was the same with Rafa. When you're out injured it's a pretty lonely place and you just can't do what you always have done. But you can use it as a positive, as Murray touched on with the French Open.

Missing that made him realise how much he loved it, so to get back playing was a positive for Baltacha and winning is great. Going to Eastbourne and Wimbledon is just excitement for her with no pressure. She can just go out there and play and whatever she achieves is an extra bonus.

I must also mention the achievements of Dan Evans. The 23-year-old from Birmingham and Britain's No 5 made the third round at Queen's after beating Argentina's Guido Pella and Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

He came unstuck against Juan Martin del Potro but it was a good effort and he goes into the Wimbledon qualifiers looking to move on and back up what he achieved last week.

Barry Cowan will be providing a daily column on the Sky Sports website during Wimbledon.

Post to your View!

Be the first to post a comment on this story

Add Comment*

Send us your views

Are you a Sky Sports subscriber?

*All fields required, your email address will be kept private

back to top

Other Tennis Experts:

Latest Posts in Tennis:

Barry Cowan

Too tough to call

Andy Murray is in impressive form but Tomas Berdych is showing real class, says Barry Cowan....

Barry Cowan

Opportunity knocks

Barry Cowan reflects on a good start for Andy Murray and an Australian Open draw that has opened up....

Latest News RSS feeds

Djokovic demolishes Raonic

World No 1 Novak Djokovic dispatched Milos Raonic in two hours to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Mixed fortunes for Williams sisters

Serena Williams powered into the Australian Open semi-finals, but elder sister Venus was denied in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Wawrinka into semi-finals

Stan Wawrinka beat Kei Nishikori in straight sets to reach the Australian Open semi-finals on Wednesday.

Berdych stands in Murray's way

Andy Murray will attempt to reach his fourth Australian Open final when he faces Tomas Berdych in Melbourne on Thursday.

Whiley loses in last eight

Jordanne Whiley’s Australian Open wheelchair singles campaign is over after a straight sets defeat to Aniek van Koot in the last eight of the competition.

Features

Australian Open 2015: We look back at what's happened in Melbourne over the past week

Australian Open 2015: We look back at what's happened in Melbourne over the past week

We take a look back at what's happened in Melbourne with the best pictures of the week.

Australian Open: Andy Murray's early performances impress Barry Cowan

Australian Open: Andy Murray's early performances impress Barry Cowan

Andy Murray's half of the Australian Open draw has been opened up by Roger Federer's exit, according to Barry Cowan.

Australian Open: Order of play

Australian Open: Order of play

Order of play for Thursday, January 29.