Is Wimbledon 2016 men’s singles title now Andy Murray’s to lose?
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | July 7, 2016
Andy Murray is on the verge of winning a second Wimbledon title and third Grand Slam, or so says Coral’s odds-on price of 4/7 in the tournament outright market.
Can the Scot really capitalise on Novak Djokovic’s surprise early exit? Or will one of Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer or Milos Raonic cause heartache for the home hope?
Swiss superstar Federer in particular has his own special aim this year, as he hopes to become the first man ever to win eight singles titles at the All England Club. While, Raonic and Berdych will be desperate to claim a maiden Grand Slam.
So, it will certainly not be straight forward for the Scotsman, who had to work hard to secure a place in the semi-finals after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came back from 2-0 down to take him all the way.
Murray can’t afford Tsonga repeat
Murray and his fans will be hoping that it will be his one and only glitch these Championships, after the world number two had previously seen off all his other challengers up to the quarters in straight sets.
The 29-year-old’s desire and intent could certainly not be faulted, though, and, with the calming (and slightly scary) presence of Ivan Lendl back by his side to keep him focussed and in check, it really looks as if it’s Murray’s title to lose.
It is not coincidence too that Murray looks likely to win another major title, having claimed Wimbledon, the US Open and Olympic Gold all under the Czech-born great.
Scot to batter Berdych
From one Czech to another, his semi-final opponent Berdych has only ever reached one Grand Slam final before, which actually came at Wimbledon in 2010, and Murray will be delighted to have avoided the likes of Federer or Raonic in his half of the draw.
Although Berdych has won six of 14 meetings with the Scot, he’s lost each of the last four and has never beaten Murray in three previous Grand Slam duels. The last two were in four sets, and that outcome is priced at 11/4 to happen again.
While this is their first head-to-head on grass, Murray has had by far the better preparation on the surface before this event, as he claimed a record fifth Queen’s Club AEGON Championship crown, and Berdych lost his only match to Marcos Baghdatis.
Provided 2013 champion Murray gets past the Czech as expected, a final with one of Federer or Raonic looms.
Murray would prefer Raonic final showdown
Murray knows how to beat both, as he has done plenty of times, and on grass too as he defeated the Swiss all-time great in the 2012 Olympic final at Wimbledon and toppled the Canadian recently at Queen’s too.
But, while Federer is not at the top of his game anymore, the Scot may just fancy facing Raonic more.
He’s lost to him on three occasions, but clearly has the mental edge in recent times having won each of their previous five, including the Queen’s final 2-1. That is in contrast to his record with Federer, who has claimed the last four meetings.
Scotsman has what it takes to be a great
Murray knows that if he is to go down in history as one of the greats in the game, he’ll have to win at five or six Grand Slam titles at least and not just settle with the two he already has.
He arguably has more talent than other former stars and double champions in more recent times such as Marat Safin, Lleyton Hewitt, Patrick Rafter and Stan Wawrinka, but now he needs to prove it.
Six Grand Slams are not totally out of reach for Murray, who easily has four or five good years left in him, and how satisfying would it be to be among names like Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker by the end of his career?
Murray must add this current Wimbledon title to his collection if he is to do so, though, as he may not get a better chance of doing so in any Grand Slam, as Djokovic will no doubt be back with a bang.