Annabel Croft has told The Tennis Space that Roger Federer would “relish the chance” to defeat Andy Murray in Sunday’s Wimbledon final as “they don’t like each other”. Croft, a former British No 1, said that there was tension between Murray and Federer because of their different characters. Croft also spoke of the fun and charisma that Murray’s semi-final opponent, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, brings to the Wimbledon Championships: “Jo is a rockstar, a superstar. He’s fun, he’s a caveman with a club, he absolutely belts the ball.”
Croft on a possible Federer-Murray final: “I think that, if Murray were to reach the final, he would rather play Novak Djokovic. Roger Federer plays Murray very well and they don’t like each other, I don’t think. I think there’s some tension between them, and I’ve seen that in previous matches that they’ve played. I think Federer would relish the chance to beat Murray in a Wimbledon final. There’s tension between them because of their different characters.”
Croft on the energy and excitement that Tsonga brings to Wimbledon: “Jo has been so popular during this tournament. He’s been the rockstar, superstar, surrounded by people and kids asking for autographs. He’s a much-loved guy. He’s brought an energy and an excitement to Wimbledon. He’s brought such presence and charisma to Wimbledon. He has a huge fanbase, a huge following, and his tennis is so exciting. In my mind, he’s the most exciting guy in terms of how he wins his points, with the dives, the rolls and the Becker stuff that goes on. He has a real philosophical take on life on the tour – he says there are people who are out there suffering and that he could be in a much worse place, doing much worse things than playing tennis. He absolutely loves his job and loves what he’s doing, so he will be excited to be out there. He will give it his best shot. and I think he will have some support. Obviously Murray will have most of the support, but Tsonga will have some just because of the way he plays his tennis.”
Croft on how Tsonga could hurt Murray: “Murray could be nervous and Tsonga could play a blinder from the start and be totally unplayable. Tsonga is fun, he’s a caveman with a club. He absolutely belts the ball. Last time they played at Wimbledon, Tsonga said he had a chance to go two sets up, and he said that this time he will be much better prepared. He said he was tired last time, but now he’s much fitter.
Croft on her concerns about Tsonga’s fitness: “Jo came to our studio and I asked to look at his finger, which he hurt at Queen’s, and the finger is twice the size that it should be. It’s very swollen, and it’s not 100 per cent. I asked him whether it was hurting him on certain shots and he was cagey about it. I don’t think he’s coming into the match at 100 per cent fitness.”
Croft on how Murray can frustrate Tsonga: “Murray has the game which makes Tsonga’s game difficult to execute. I think Murray will have too much. Andy is definitely the favourite when you look as their head-to-head record. Andy also seems to have that little bit extra against guys like Tsonga. I think Tsonga has the game to trouble Andy, but I don’t think he’s consistent enough to do it over the best of five sets.”
Annabel Croft and Mats Wilander are presenting Live @ Wimbledon this fortnight. http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/interactive/index.html