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Page last updated at 23:09 GMT, Wednesday, 29 June 2011 00:09 UK

Wimbledon 2011: Tim Henman on Andy Murray

Andy Murray celebrates victory against Feliciano Lopez

Murray sweeps into semi-finals

Tim Henman
By Tim Henman
Former British number one

The beauty of Andy Murray's progression to his third successive semi-final at Wimbledon is that he still hasn't played his best tennis yet.

It's a good sign. He can play better and he will certainly need to play better if he is going to beat Rafael Nadal on Friday.

He never let Feliciano Lopez into their quarter-final match and he totally dominated by executing his shots and serving well.

It was another really clinical and professional performance that was impressive to watch.

I have to say I was disappointed with the way Lopez played as he didn't seem to have a clear game plan. He really had to throw caution to the wind and go for his shots, but he didn't commit to one thing or the other.

It is fair to say Murray has had a good draw so far and has reached the semi-finals without playing anyone in the world's top 10.

His preparations for the business end of Wimbledon have been ideal

Tim Henman

But any notion that it has left him undercooked is not true at all as he has played a lot of tennis this year. He had a great clay-court season, played so well at the French Open and then seamlessly switched surfaces and won on grass at Queen's, so he has plenty of good tennis behind him.

His preparations for the business end of Wimbledon have been ideal as he hasn't had to exert too much energy, leaving him with plenty in the tank.

Now to his mouth-watering semi-final with Rafael Nadal.

I played in four semi-finals at Wimbledon and weirdly, like Andy, I entered my third attempt at reaching the final without having a coach.

A lot has been said about the fact that Andy is currently without a full-time coach at his side, but in my experience at this stage it isn't about trainers or coaches, or mums or dads, it is all about what happens on the court.

Andy has been in this position before and just having experienced these types of matches is crucial. He has played Nadal, he knows his game, and there aren't any hidden secrets for him out there. He has got to go out on Centre Court and play his game to the very highest level and show his aggression.

If he does all of the above he can certainly win.

Andy Murray

Murray unconcerned by latest injury scare

Yes, he has suffered two heavy defeats to Nadal in their previous encounters at Wimbledon, but if I'm being honest he was simply beaten by the better player.

Andy has improved a lot since then and I'm not so sure that Nadal is playing quite as well as he has done in the past, so there are plenty of positive signs.

The biggest test is always how you deal with adversity. There will be very difficult moments ahead against Nadal and it will be key to see how Andy handles those.

Sometimes he has got frustrated in the past and a lot of dialogue with his support team in the box has gone on mid-game, but he seems to have cut that out at this tournament and I think it is a reflection that it has been easy, one-way traffic for him in his matches.

It is so difficult to pick a weakness in Rafa's game, but I would say it is his backhand return at the deuce box. I think that is where I would like to see Andy using a slower serve out wide and maybe sneaking into to serve and volley a bit, as I think he can win some cheap points.

It's an option Juan Martin Del Potro exploited in his fourth-round match with Nadal and it is something for Andy to look out for.

Tim was talking to BBC Sport's Paul Birch

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see also
Murray wins to set up Nadal semi
30 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Murray relaxed about groin niggle
30 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Nadal fights through to last four
29 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day nine photos
29 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Murray v Lopez as it happened
29 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Andy Murray column
25 Jun 11 |  Tennis

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