The shock early exit of Rafael Nadal from Wimbledon this year has opened up the draw for Andy Murray and given him a much better chance of ending the British drought in the event. No Briton has won the men’s title since Fred Perry in 1936 but, as Murray eased to a place in the quarter-finals, bookmakers cut his odds to just 4-1 with Bet365.
Tim Henman toiled in vain for many years, bringing great excitement to the tournament for the homes but ultimately to no avail. Between 1996 and 2004, Henman lost four semi-finals and four quarter-finals. In 2001 he was on the verge of victory against the big-serving Goran Ivanisevic but faltered in a rain-delayed match and his chances evaporated. Andy Murray has now taken up the baton and has been beaten in the last three semi-finals following a first quarter-final appearance in 2008. In that time he has also reached three Grand Slam finals and lost them all without winning a set. So, what could make the difference this time?
In the top half of the draw sits World Number 1 Novak Djokovic, reigning champion and only denied the honour of holding all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously by his recent defeat in the final of the French Open. Djokovic is scheduled to meet six-times Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in the semi-final. Aside from concentrating on his own matches, that is where Murray’s best chance of a Wimbledon victory lies. If Federer can stretch or even defeat Djokovic, Murray would have the opportunity to meet a player that had already come through a final of sorts.
Last year, Murray met Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open but was dismissed 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. They met again in Australia this year with the Serbian eventually coming out on top in an epic five-set encounter. Murray gained some sort of revenge in Dubai shortly afterwards and has won five of their 13 meetings. Djokovic then took a straight-sets win over Murray in Miami in their most recent clash. Interestingly, they have never met on grass. Murray has a better record against Federer, winning eight of their fifteen meetings although defeated on both Grand Slam clashes. The Swiss remains a fearsome opponent but is certainly approaching the end of his career whereas Djokovic is dominating the men’s game. Of course, Murray must first win his quarter-final and semi-final but, without Nadal standing in his way, his chances are as good as they have ever been.
Author Profile: Harvey Mayson+