Two-Time Champ Murray Hunts His ‘Good Tennis’ For Wimbledon Bid
Despite his promising start to the grass season being cut short by an abdominal injury, Andy Murray is taking plenty of belief from his recent performances as he prepares to open his 2022 Wimbledon campaign against James Duckworth.
“I think I showed a couple weeks ago [in Stuttgart] that there was still good tennis left in me,” said Murray in his pre-tournament press conference in London on Saturday. “I beat a guy [Stefanos Tsitsipas] in the top five in the world. I was neck-and-neck with [Matteo] Berrettini, who is one of the best grass-court players in the world before his injury. I played well against [Nick] Kyrgios, as well.”
The former World No. 1 marched to the final at the ATP 250 event in south-west Germany without dropping a set. Despite a three-set loss to World No. 11 Berrettini in the championship match, Murray feels it is proof he still has the game to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the draw at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. His coach, eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl, feels the same.
“I know the tennis is in there; I just need to bring it out during the event now,” said Murray. “Obviously having Ivan on my team helps. We've had a lot of success in the past. We know each other well. He still believes in me. There's not loads of people out there that have done over this last period, and he has. That definitely helps me.”
Murray’s injury hampered him at times against Berrettini and forced his subsequent withdrawal from the Cinch Championships at The Queen’s Club in London. Despite fears that it would also threaten his place in the draw at Wimbledon, the Briton is happy with how preparations for his home major, where he lifted the trophy in 2013 and 2016, have gone.
“I've been able to gradually progress my training this week and got to play a few sets, a lot of points,” he said. “The last few days have been good.”
His first-round assignment in London is a third tour-level meeting with the World No. 77 Duckworth. Like Murray, the Australian has been frequently frustrated by injuries over the past few years. After reaching his career-high of No. 46 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on 31 January, the 30-year-old did not play again until May after undergoing hip surgery.
“He's a guy that's had quite a few operations,” said Murray. “He's had quite a few injury issues over the years. He's a proper hard worker. He finished last year extremely well, the second half of the year.
“Obviously I wish him well coming back from the surgery, and I'm sure we'll have a good match on Monday.”
The 35-year-old also admitted he had to learn how to deal with the pressure of being a home favourite at Wimbledon early in his career. His fellow Brit and WTA star Emma Raducanu is preparing to play her home Grand Slam for the first time since her stunning US Open triumph in September, but Murray believes the personal nature of the experience makes it difficult for him to offer the 19-year-old advice on how to manage the hype.
“I haven't given advice to Emma or any of the British players on how to deal with that side of things,” he said. “No one has asked me to. I'd be more than happy to, but I'm also not going to call up one of the players and just say, 'Hey, this is how you should deal with it because that's the right way to go.'
“Everyone is different. Everyone feels things in a different way, will handle it differently. I certainly didn't handle things perfectly during the Wimbledon period, but I can also understand probably the different emotions and stresses that you can feel coming into this tournament. It is great and it is amazing, but there are challenges that come with it.”