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Tennis experts predict Murray v Nadal

30 June 11 18:11 GMT

Tension is rising ahead of Andy Murray's Wimbledon semi-final against Rafael Nadal.

Murray was beaten in straight sets by the world number one in last year's semis, but his form at this Wimbledon indicates that it will be a very tight match.

Nadal currently holds three out of the four Grand Slam titles and is one of the most fearsome competitors men's tennis has ever seen.

But what do the experts think? We asked a host of former players, BBC pundits and newspaper journalists who they think will win Friday's match.

TIM HENMAN, four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist

"Andy has been in this position before and just having experience of 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. Andy 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. Nadal, though, is the favourite for a reason."

GREG RUSEDSKI, former world number four

"It's going to be Nadal in four or five sets, it's hard to bet against him. It's going to be tighter than last year as Andy has improved and got better. If Andy gets off to a good start there is a possibility he could win, but if he loses the first set it is going to be a big ask."

SUE BARKER, BBC Sport presenter

"Murray is in the form of his life and has the best chance ever to beat Rafa at Wimbledon. Murray cannot allow any dips in form throughout the match. I think it is going to be close and tense but if I had to pick a winner I'm still going with Rafa because my head is telling me he is going to win."

LINDSAY DAVENPORT, 1999 Wimbledon champion

"I think Murray is playing better tennis now than he has ever done before, he seems to be handling the pressure. Rafa is Rafa for a reason and he has won 19 straight matches at Wimbledon. Murray is the underdog going into this, but you just get a sense that Andy is going to come through."

VIRGINIA WADE, 1977 Wimbledon champion

"I think Andy is going to do extremely well against Nadal, but whether that equates to a win I'm not sure. It will be so close, all four semi-finalists have a 25% chance of winning the tournament."

TRACY AUSTIN, two-time US Open winner

"The British won't be happy but I will pick Nadal. I think Murray is closing the gap each year but Nadal has got better too, improving his serve and his backhand. Nadal hasn't lost at Wimbledon since 2007 and the one way Murray can win is to be aggressive. He will have to serve and return big and really go after his forehand."

PAT CASH, 1987 Wimbledon champion

"The key for me is the mental ability of Andy - his game is getting closer to Nadal to win at this level but there are always a few little gaps of concentration where he goes walkabout. He can't afford that and the second serve is going to be massive as well. Andy has to play his best and it's not that easy against the best."

JOHN LLOYD, former Australian Open finalist

"I think Murray will win in four sets. He has the game to beat Nadal. I love the way Andy is playing and I'm not convinced Nadal is playing his best at the moment, although he will raise his game for the semis. I think Andy will have just enough on this surface to beat him, using his pace and picking up some free points on his serve."

RICHARD KRAIJCEK, 1996 Wimbledon Men's champion

"The final will be Rafa Nadal v Novak Djokovic. I think Murray played well this year and he has made a big step, reaching the final of the Australian Open and struggling and playing through pain at the French Open. He showed a lot of character in Paris, played a good match against Nadal and then won Queen's. But Nadal is persistent, and his strength means he will win. I think it will be Nadal in five."

BRAD GILBERT, Andy Murray's former coach

"The way both of them have been playing, hopefully we get five sets. Rafa always finds a way, he's a great mid-match adjustment player. Murray has to play his A+ game. The key elements for Murray are the start and the serve. Murray had his finest clay court season, but he's up against a guy who's one of the best of all-time. It's rare that both guys play A+, but when Rafa plays his A+ game he is unbeatable."

MARK PETCHEY, Andy Murray's former coach

"Rafa is the favourite given his record and everything else that has gone on in the past. Andy is playing the best he has played going into the tournament. He has got to take it to Rafa and that is one of the hardest things - being aggressive but cutting down on the unforced errors. It's a difficult thing to achieve."

BARRY DAVIES, BBC tennis commentator

"If Murray is prepared to chance his arm rather more than he has done before against Nadal I think he can win. If he lets Nadal get on top, he can't."


"I've just got a feeling that we're heading for a Murray v Djokovic final. I think that this could be the year that Murray beats Nadal at Wimbledon."


"Murray has lost his last two semi-finals and I think that will spur him on against Nadal. I said from the outset I think Andy can get to the final and I still believe that."

PAM SHRIVER, former US Open finalist

"I'm looking forward to this for lots of reasons. What is going to be key for Andy is to be able to take an opportunity when it's there. Andy Murray has done everything apart from win the final match at a Grand Slam. It's just been tough for him to have a great win in the semi and then repeat it in a final. Rafa starts as a slight favourite for me."

MARK WOODFORDE, six-time men's doubles champion at Wimbledon

"Andy has to take it to him. Rafa has played to a higher standard than I expected this tournament but I think Murray's in with a great chance. He's still there, but Rafa is like a wall. He is still surviving. You can't ignore the foot injury, and if Andy Murray comes out and fires on all guns, he has a chance, but if not, Rafa will win. If Murray plays his A game he can win. If they both play their A game, Rafa will win..."

ANDREW COTTER, BBC commentator

"Murray's body language and his mentality has got better this year but Nadal is the strongest competitor out there. Pushing Nadal at the French Open on his favourite surface gives him a mental boost coming onto grass and at Queen's, Murray was fantastic."


"He's got a chance, he's beaten Rafa in two Grand Slams and although he lost in straight sets here last year, he's beaten him in big games and he can take confidence from that. I think he's got to be as offensive as he can. He's got to return well and move Nadal around the court and I don't think Nadal has played his best here. I'm confident it gives Andy the edge."

BARRY FLATMAN, The Sunday Times

"Andy Murray has got to be the aggressor, it is no good standing back like he has done in the past, he has got to take the game to Rafa. I think he will be more proactive as he is in a far more positive frame of mind. It's is imperative he wins the first set."


The above people were talking to Paul Birch, Sam Holden and Andrew Hill.

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