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Wimbledon 2011: Tim Henman on Andy Murray

Andy Murray with Rafael Nadal

Brutal Nadal ends Murray challenge (UK only)

Tim Henman
By Tim Henman
Former British number one

Nothing that happened at this Wimbledon tournament has affected my belief that Andy Murray will win a Grand Slam title, in fact it has just increased it.

Yes, it was disappointing how in his semi-final against Rafael Nadal he lost seven straight games in the second set after missing that crucial forehand, but the way he played near perfect tennis in the first was amazing.

As I am so often reminded, I lost four semi-finals at Wimbledon and I can tell you, losing one never becomes easier.

My third defeat was probably the hardest, when I lost to the unseeded Goran Ivanisevic after three rain affected days. Sometimes they hit you in different ways.

Like Andy, I came up against a seemingly immovable object like Nadal when I played Pete Sampras in my first two semi-finals. I always had 100% total belief that I was going to beat Pete, but it wasn't the case. When I reflect on it now I think I was good enough to win Wimbledon, but I think there were people that were better than me.

Andy is in a similar boat right now that he is good enough to win this tournament but he has Roger Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic that are slightly ahead of him.

We are all disappointed, but he will obviously be disappointed more than anyone. What he needs now is a break with his friends and family. When he returns he will be on his favourite hard court surfaces and he understands what he needs to do.

In the biggest events he is knocking on the door, it's important he maintains his work ethic and if he does there is no reason why he can't improve.



The ability is there. We all saw how well he served in that first set against Nadal. He had everything, variation, power, but he needs to do that all of the time. If he can consistently serve for a year and be above 60% for his first serves in and winning 75-80% of those points then it will give him such a good foundation.

He can do it, but he simply has to do it for longer periods. The good thing is that he has the capability.

Hawk-Eye graphic of Andy Murray's serves v Rafael Nadal
This Hawk-Eye graphic shows how well Andy Murray served during the first set against Rafael Nadal, showing variation to all parts of the service boxes.

Hawk-Eye graphic of Andy Murray's serves v Rafael Nadal
But this Hawk-Eye graphic shows that Murray's serve in the second, third and fourth sets, which he lost, were not as varied

People have criticised his second serve, but in a funny sort of way I don't think the second serve is that much of an issue. When players used to chip and charge and come in behind the second serve you really had to make sure you positioned your second serve well, but against Nadal it was not a problem.


Murray's forehand is a shot that he was going for a lot more in the Nadal match and he made so many of them in that first set.

I would encourage him to keep going for his forehand as the more he goes for it the more comfortable he will be with it. I think sometimes when he plays against Nadal it's almost like he is having to go up a gear and play at a level that he doesn't always play at, and I think the more often he can try and be at that level whether it's in practice or in matches, the easier it will be when he comes up against the best players.

He hasn't got much to change technically, there is nothing wrong with the shot. He just needs to be aggressive on it more often so it becomes second nature and he is used to it.


I would also like to see him be more aggressive on his backhand because I think his two-handed backhand is as good a shot as there is in the game. Because of that I think he should take more risks on it and I don't think he will make more unforced errors as a result. Technically it is a better shot than his forehand but he still goes for that more often.


Mentally, I think his attitude had been fantastic on the court and he has been more in control. The trouble is dealing with adversity. Having missed that forehand during the fourth game of the second set there was definitely some sort of a reaction as he lost seven games in a row. He got distracted from his game plan and game style. I've been there so I can understand what is going on, it is very difficult to turn it around when you are playing the best player in the world but he can't let himself be affected.


He has to impose himself against the lesser players and beat the lesser players playing the right way, rather than just beating them because he is better than them. Otherwise, when he comes up against the better players it's almost like he has to turn it on and go up a level and you can't do that. So for me it is about his game style day-in day-out.

He has improved, but he still has to do it more frequently in the smaller tournaments against the lesser players so it becomes second nature.

I don't think he needs to change his set-up - he understands what he needs to do. He can have all the people round him telling him what to do, but he is the one that has actually got to do it.

Tim was talking to BBC Sport's Paul Birch

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see also
Andy Murray column
04 Jul 11 |  Tennis
McEnroe on Murray
04 Jul 11 |  Tennis
Murray regrets high-risk tactics
02 Jul 11 |  Tennis
Murray v Nadal analysis
01 Jul 11 |  Tennis
Nadal beats Murray at Wimbledon
01 Jul 11 |  Tennis
Nadal ends Murray's hopes again
02 Jul 11 |  Tennis
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

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