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Henman on Murray

Date: 22 June - 5 July
Coverage: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD, Red Button, website streaming (UK only) and text commentary, 5 Live, 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC i Player
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Tim Henman and Andy Murray

By Tim Henman
Former British number one

People often ask me how I felt in the build-up to Wimbledon and my answer is always the same: I couldn't wait to get on court.

I was about to play in the biggest tournament in the world, on the best court in the world in front of my own fans. I absolutely loved it.

Of course, there was a lot of stuff going on around me, but my attitude was to focus on the things I could control: my preparation and my performance.

Pressure is all self-inflicted. If you go out there worrying about the media attention, the 15,000 fans on Centre Court and the 12m more watching you on television, you'll be shaking in your boots.

I didn't pay a great deal of attention to all of that. As far as I was concerned, I'd prepared well and practiced hard and I was about to play in a tournament where I'd produced some of my best tennis, so the excitement was huge.

I'd be very surprised if the 2009 champion is not Murray, Federer or Nadal

Andy Murray is similar in that way. He's got a good head on his shoulders and he doesn't get put off by anything that's going on away from the court.

Last year, he reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and I expect him to do even better this year.

Is he ready to win it? Absolutely. In fact, I'd be very surprised if the 2009 champion is not Murray or Roger Federer, following Rafael Nadal's withdrawal.

Over the last 12 months since Wimbledon, Murray's record has been phenomenal.

He has reached the final of the US Open, won three Masters Series titles and lifted three other trophies.

He is now a clear number three, pulling clear of Novak Djokovic and closing in on the top two of Nadal and Federer.

People talk a lot about how he has a better chance at Wimbledon than most.

Why? Firstly, you look at his movement, which is a key aspect of playing on grass.

It is not an easy surface to move well on. It's not that you slip exactly, it's just not like a hard court where you have a totally sure footing.

That is one of the reasons there are less players who feel comfortable on grass.

There are probably 40-50 players who really fancy their chances of doing very well at the French Open.


At Wimbledon, you can narrow that down to maybe 20 and that plays into the hands of those top guys.

Finally, the support Murray gets is a huge asset. Not only does it give him a lift in difficult moments, it always puts extra pressure on his opponent.

Having played under it, I believe the roof on Centre Court could intensify that atmosphere.

I remember playing Davis Cup indoors in Birmingham and the noise was just incredible. That was with 11-12,000 people. Imagine Centre Court, with 15,000 fans packed into it.

Now they have the roof, I think we all know it's going to be the driest summer on record!

But I must admit I'm almost hoping it does rain just so we can see it in action.

Tim Henman was speaking to BBC Sport's Caroline Cheese. Henman will be part of the BBC's commentary team for Wimbledon 2009, which begins on 22 June.

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see also
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Murray plays down Wimbledon hype
15 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Champion Nadal out of Wimbledon
19 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Classy Murray wins Queen's title
14 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Stars play under Wimbledon roof
17 May 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon set for late finishes
21 Apr 09 |  Tennis
Henman on Federer
08 Jun 09 |  Tennis

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