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Andy Murray - defeat in semi-final

Henman exclusive: There's a big three, not a big four


Tim Henman has told The Tennis Space why Andy Murray’s performances on the French Open clay are “irrelevant” for the Scot’s preparations for the  Wimbledon grass: “We didn’t learn anything in Paris about how Andy will play at Wimbledon, nothing at all.” Henman also argued that there is a big three in the men’s game, not a big four, “as Andy hasn’t put himself on a level with the others – he hasn’t won a grand slam yet”. The Englishman, who has been keeping fit with boxing training, also responded to Murray’s challenge to a fight. 

Henman on why there is a big three in men’s tennis, not a big four. “I don’t think anyone would say that Andy has put himself on the same level as Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. Not when Djokovic has five grand slams, Nadal has ten, Federer has sixteen, and Andy is yet to win one. Andy has definitely put some distance between himself and the rest of the tour, but he’s not up there with the other three yet. I would say there’s a big three, then Andy, and then the rest. But I’ve always said that Andy is going to win one, and I think once he’s done that, he will win a few more.” 

Henman on what Murray’s French Open told us about his chances at Wimbledon: “What did we learn about how Andy is going to play at Wimbledon? Nothing at all. How Andy played in Paris is irrelevant, totally irrelevant. We all know how well Andy can play on grass, and the sort of performances he has produced at Wimbledon. I watched some of Andy’s second-round match against Jarkko Nieminen, when Andy’s back was really hurting, and I saw his quarter-final with David Ferrer. I think it would have been hard enough for Andy to have beaten a player of Ferrer’s quality at the French Open – Ferrer is a fantastic player, so tenacious – if he was 100 per cent fit. With a back problem, it gets even harder. When Andy was on, he played some good, aggressive tennis, but he couldn’t sustain it unfortunately. But I don’t think any of this is at all relevant to how he’s going to play at Wimbledon. My only concern about his preparations would be his back, as you want to try to go into Wimbledon without any injuries.”

Henman on whether Murray should withdraw from next week’s Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club to rest his back. “Only Andy can know exactly how his back is feeling, and whether playing at Queen’s is sensible or not. Grass should be much better for his back. The bounce is much lower than clay – it helps your back when the ball doesn’t get up too high. Plus the surface is softer, and the rallies are much shorter than they are on a clay court.”

Henman on Murray’s challenge to fight in a boxing ring: “Ha, ha, has Andy said that? I’ve been doing some boxing training with the bags and pads to keep fit, but I don’t think Andy should be too concerned about the strength of my punching.”