Murray Primed for 1st Major at Wimbledon

by John on June 21, 2009

Andy Murray will wear all-white retro duds made for Wimbledon this year by clothing maker Fred Perry. The outfit was designed in honor of Perry’s 100th birthday. The elegant Englishman was the last Brit to win the Championships back in 1936. Is it just a coincidence that the third-seeded Murray is deemed England’s best bet to win the title since then? Roger Federer, fresh off his first French Open crown and the odds on favorite, will of course have a thing or two to say about the championship-starved Brits possibly celebrating a title by the Scottish-born Murray. With the withdrawal of No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal on Friday, Federer, the No. 2 seed, and Murray are slated to meet in the final. My crystal ball tells me that if Murray can ignore the weight of British expectations, he will win his first Grand Slam on July 5. The 22-year-old Murray is a fitter and wiser player than he was a year ago, when eventual champion Nadal ousted him in straight sets in the quarterfinals. Murray tuned up for the Big W by winning his first grass-court title at Queen’s Club last week and seems well prepared for all the buzz being generated. “I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this the next week, but for the people that sit and read the papers and that write the papers and do the bits on TV and on radio, you can get caught up in it if you want to,” the Scotsman said after Queen’s. “I’m not planning on getting caught up in the whole hype and, you know, the pressure and whatnot, because I don’t think that that helps.” Murray has won four titles this year and has a 6-2 career record against Federer, including wins in their last four matches. Federer comes into Wimbledon less prepared than in the past. The Swiss Maestro withdrew from his favorite grass-court warmup at Halle following the French Open, citing exhaustion. Who wouldn’t be spent after scaling Mount Everest for the first time. The hangover effect is the primary reason I don’t think Federer will reclaim his Wimbledon crown and win his 6th title at the All England Club. That and the fact that his path to the final is a virtual minefield. French Open finalist Robin Soderling lurks in the fourth round and then either Fernando Verdasco or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals. Tsonga is my dark-horse pick to win it all. If the draw proceeds according to form, No. 4-seeded Novak Djokovic awaits in the semifinals. Murray has an easier half with potential challenges from Ernests Gulbis in the second round and Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth before a matchup with Gilles Simon or Fernando Gonzalez in the quarterfinals. Rising star, No. 5-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, inexperienced on grass, or the always dangerous Andy Roddick, the No. 6 seed, should meet Murray in the semis. Federer enters the fortnight confident. “I feel like I’ve got the game, I’ve got the mental approach and I’ve got the experience…to win Wimbledon many more times,” he said. “But I’d like to get this one, this year.” Methinks it’s Andy.

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