Greg Rusedski gives his assessment of the top four so far this season.
Rusedski on Novak Djokovic
“I’ve been very impressed by Djokovic as everyone doubted whether he would have as good a year as he had last season. He didn’t play his best tennis in Australia, but he found a way to win, and played 11 hours of tennis in the last two rounds, with an epic semi-final against Murray and then an epic final against Nadal. He had a bit of a bump against John Isner in Indian Wells but then came back strong to win Miami. In Monte Carlo, he reached the final the same week of the passing of his grandfather, and emotionally that wasn’t the normal Djokovic. That’s the worst final he’s ever played, but he wasn’t really there. But that’s understandable because of the emotions of the week. He was very torn up. He was very close to his grandfather.”
Rusedski on Rafael Nadal
“He has come through a bit, and got better against Djokovic. He said after he lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final, ‘I think I’ve found my solution’, and it looks like he has. The top two are still above and beyond the rest.”
Rusedski on Roger Federer
“Federer is playing well. Winning majors – and the Olympic gold in singles – is still a big goal for him. He’s still slightly behind Djokovic and Nadal, in my opinion, as he would probably have to beat them back-to-back to win a major. He can beat one, but can he beat two back-to-back? I’m not sure.”
Rusedski on Andy Murray
“Andy was great in Australia. I really liked the way he was going. Mentally, he looked good. His serve looked better, his high forehand looked better, his smash looked better. In Miami, he got to the final, but he played defensively, and started slowly. He needs to start a lot quicker against the top guys. He needs to have the right sort of attitude. I felt as though his serve and high forehand have dropped off ever so slightly, and they have to be up there. His mentality is to be defensive, and Ivan Lendl wants him to be more aggressive. He needs to be aggressive if he is going to beat two of the top three back-to-back, which is what he will have to do if he wants to win a slam.”
“He’s got the right guy with Lendl. Lendl lost his first four slam finals, and then won eight afterwards. Andy has to make a deceision. If he continues to play the way he played last season, and some of this year, he can stay at three or four in the world, and wait for Federer and Nadal to go. But if he wants to win a slam now, he has to do those things. He should take inspiration from Djokovic, who used to have a bowling serve, and who had problems with his forehand. He worked on his serve, he started hitting through his forehand, and he improved mentally and that took him to No 1 in the world. Ivan will be telling him all of that. But, ultimately, Andy has to listen to what he’s being told. Obviously Ivan believes that Andy can win a slam, because otherwise he wouldn’t be there.”
Greg Rusedski is a supporter of the Barclays Ball Kids scheme.