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Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Sunday, 8 June 2008 10:56 UK

Gilbert backs Murray at Wimbledon

Andy Murray
Murray became a top 10 player while working with Gilbert

Andy Murray's former coach Brad Gilbert feels the British number one is a serious contender to win Wimbledon, which begins on 23 June.

The Scot missed the tournament in 2007 because of a wrist injury but Gilbert feels he can challenge this time round.

Gilbert told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek: "Andy is one of the five best grass-courters in the world.

"A lot depends on the draw but he plays really well on grass, he moves well and he should have a good opportunity."

Gilbert split with Murray in November 2007 after working with him for 16 months, in which time he helped Murray rise into the world's top 10.

He chose to go in another direction and that is the nature of this beast. That was eight months ago and life moves on

Brad Gilbert on Andy Murray

Murray is currently ranked 12th, but although Gilbert feels he is behind the top three - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - he does not see him as inferior to any other player on grass.

"The big three have totally separated themselves so they are the big three favourites," Gilbert explained. "But then the two Andys - Murray and Roddick - are at the next level after that.

"There are other players coming through but they are the five to beat."

Gilbert, a former top-five player who has also worked with Andre Agassi and Roddick, is proud of his achievements with Murray when they worked together.

"I was pleased with our results," he said. "Through all the trials and tribulations of 2007, despite Andy basically missing half the year and two Grand Slams, he was one set away from making the Masters in Shanghai.

"That was the goal - to make Shanghai. He fell a little bit short but I'd like to say he made a decent effort going from number 36 to eight, and then finishing the year at number 11."

And the American says their partnership did not end acrimoniously.

"We had a good run," Gilbert stated. "He chose to go in another direction and that is the nature of this beast. That was eight months ago and life moves on.

"It is different from coaching a football team or basketball team. This is a different situation, and between coach and player it is an interesting dynamic. Sometimes things happen and that is life.

"He decided to put his game in a different direction with different people and now he is in a new chapter."

Murray begins his grass-court season on 9 June at the Stella Artois Championships, where he is seeded number six, but is in the same half of the draw as Nadal and four-time champion Roddick.

see also
Corretja to help Murray on clay
04 Apr 08 |  Tennis
The search for Team Murray
03 Dec 07 |  Tennis
Injured Murray out of Wimbledon
24 Jun 07 |  Tennis

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