It’s been eight years since Andy Murray ended Britain’s 76-year wait for another Wimbledon winner.
After an agonising defeat 12 months earlier to Roger Federer, Murray used the experience of his US Open victory the same year to go a step further and defeat Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the All England Club.
Wimbledon was the scene of Murray’s last Grand Slam quarter-final. The two-time Champion reached the last eight in 2017, before his gut-wrenching decline due to a crippling hip injury took hold. Since Wimbledon in 2017, Murray, now with a metal hip, has played in just four of the 14 Grand Slams, winning one match.
On the basis of those numbers, the now world number 119 will be unlikely to pull up any trees in SW19. The Scot has not won a match at Wimbledon since defeating Benoît Paire in straight sets four years ago.
Murray’s preparation hasn’t been ideal either. He was dumped out of the Queen’s Club Championship by world number nine Matteo Berrettini after a solitary victory, once again over Paire. It was Murray’s first singles tournament on grass for three years.
But this is Wimbledon, the scene of Murray’s greatest triumph. The 34-year-old has an incredible win percentage of 85% at Wimbledon, winning 57 of his 67 singles matches.
The former world number one has reached the quarter-final or better in his last ten attempts at Wimbledon, seven of which resulted in reaching the last four, final, or victory. The British ace has yet to lose before the third round of the tournament, where he suffered defeat in his Wimbledon debut back in 2005.
For what he may lack in match sharpness and form, Murray’s expertise and knowledge on grass could see him through the first couple of rounds should the draw fall kindly to him on June 25.
Murray told Sky Sports ahead of Wimbledon: “I’m going to get there early to practice at Wimbledon, Hopefully I’ve got some high-quality practices; I’m practising with (Marin) Cilic today and I practise with (Roger) Federer later in the week.
“I’m just trying to play with high-quality grass-court players to prepare me as best as possible. I don’t want it to be my last Wimbledon; certainly I want to keep playing, I don’t want to stop just now, so, yeah, I want to keep going.”
There’s no doubt though that Djokovic will be the man to beat. The five-time champion is a clear favourite in the men’s Wimbledon betting and is in search of a third-straight Wimbledon title after an epic five-set final against Roger Federer two years ago.
Without Rafael Nadal at this year’s tournament, it will be left to the master Federer to try to wrestle the Serbian’s crown away, unless Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem or another surprise package can win their first Wimbledon title.
For the first time in many-a-year, Murray may have to come to Wimbledon with modest expectations. After such a difficult time with injury, to win a game at the Championship would mean the world after so long without tasting victory.
But with Murray’s pedigree in south-west London, hopefully an early win can set the Scot back on a path towards levels we saw from him in the not-too-distant past.
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Last modified: June 24, 2021