Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Roger Federer admits Andy Murray is biggest danger

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 16:  Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates victory during the Men's Singles final against Marin Cilic of Croatia on day seven of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club on June 16, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates victory during the Men's Singles final against Marin Cilic of Croatia on day seven of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club on June 16, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

It was not just an impatient Britain that thought it was Andy Murray's time to win Wimbledon 12 months ago – his final opponent Roger Federer did too.

And now Federer believes Murray poses the greatest threat of any rival as the grass-court grand slam fortnight begins.

Murray last year became the first British man to reach the Wimbledon men's singles final for 74 years and won the first set, but Federer went on to win in four and lift the trophy for the seventh time.

Murray did not have to wait long to gain revenge, thrashing Federer in the Olympic final four weeks later at Wimbledon and then winning his first grand slam title at the US Open in September.

Federer said: "I thought Andy was going to win a big one anyway at some point. He's too good to always keep losing semis and finals. He's put himself too often in that position time and time again.

"Somehow I thought it was going to be Wimbledon before the finals last year. I thought this was going to be it for him. I was able to fight that off and play a good match.

"I was happy with the way I played, but I was happy with the reaction that Andy showed as well. Because in previous years, the one time I beat him in the Australian Open final, he went on a bit of a disappointing run after that.

"That wasn't the case after Wimbledon last year. He actually got much stronger. That's why he increased his chances now by winning big tournaments. He did so at the Olympics, the US Open. Now he's the favourite every tournament he goes into around the world."

Federer had no hesitation in picking out Murray, a potential semi-final opponent, as the player he fears most at Wimbledon ahead of Rafael Nadal or world number one Novak Djokovic.

"I think Murray played great last year throughout Wimbledon and the Olympics, and now again at Queen's," said Federer.

"So, for me, he seems like maybe the most natural on this surface of the other guys. But then the other guys are already Wimbledon champions, Rafa and Novak. But, to me, Andy sort of stands out a little bit over the others."

Murray, meanwhile, says he is comfortable with the fact he may never win Wimbledon, and that similar thoughts helped him win the Olympics and the US Open.

The 26-year-old begins his campaign today in the third match on Centre Court against German Benjamin Becker, whom he beat on his way to lifting the title at Queen's Club last weekend.

"It's still an incredibly difficult tournament to win," Murray said.

"The players that are around right now are so good and so consistent that it's going to be a tough tournament for me to win.

"I can't guarantee I'm going to win Wimbledon. As long as I give 110% on the court that's the best that I can do."

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