As the world ranked number two tennis player in the world, it’s safe to say we expect big things from Andy Murray in every single tournament he’s playing in, none more so than Wimbledon.
For what seems like an eternity, we’ve been longing for a British player to win the big prize for the men’s tournament in front of an appreciative home crowd for the first time since Fred Perry won in 1936.
For a good while, it seemed like a Brit winning Wimbledon was never likely, with successive failures by the likes of Tim Henman and Greg Ruzedski firmly ingrained in the typical tennis fan’s thoughts. However, the emergence of Murray has given us much more hope.
Last year, Murray gave the legendary Roger Federer more than a run for his money in the final. Although he lost the match, he emerged from that tournament with a huge amount of credit, and has played well ever since.
Later that year, he went on to win his only Grand Slam title to date, the US Open, which proved that he’s capable of winning on tennis’ biggest stages, but what are his chances this year?
As second seed, you might think that he’s well-placed to avoid a truly big gun until at least the semi-finals, but there could be a major obstacle for him in the last eight.
Despite recently winning the French Open, Rafael Nadal is seeded fifth due to lengthy spells out injured and is likely to cross paths with Murray in the quarters. Having won the most recent major, Nadal looks to be back to his best, and would be the favourite to beat the Scot.
Something else he might need to be wary of is meeting third seed Roger Federer in the semis. Basically, if he’s to win, he’ll have to do it the hard way or hope for a few upsets!
Potentially tricky draw aside, Murray has had several injury concerns of his own. He has missed quite a few tournaments this year in order to rest his troublesome back, and may be a little rusty in the early stages.
The good news for Murray fans is that he’s back in the winning habit. His victory at the Queen’s Club, although against a comparatively weak field, shows that he’s gradually regaining the match sharpness needed for him to go all the way at Wimbledon.
If Murray is to win, he will have to be at his peak for most of the tournament. He might be able to cruise through the first couple of rounds, but should he reach the last 16, expect fans’ anxiety levels to go through the (retractable) roof!