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Andy Murray in fine fettle for Wimbledon challenge, says Tim Henman

By Tom Allnutt

Published 30/06/2015

Combining well: Coach Amelie Mauresmo, Andy Murray and trainer Matt Little practice on day one of Wimbledon
Combining well: Coach Amelie Mauresmo, Andy Murray and trainer Matt Little practice on day one of Wimbledon

Andy Murray has "rebuilt his identity" to put himself in contention for a second Wimbledon title, according to Tim Henman.

Murray will start this year's Wimbledon challenge by facing Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin today, fresh from a record-equalling fourth Queen's Club title.

The 28-year-old Scot recently revealed he has been working with a psychiatrist in a bid to curb his on-court frustrations, and that is rumoured to be Richard Hampson, who works with Dr Steve Peters.

Former World No 4 Henman believes 2013 Wimbledon champion Murray has resurrected hopes of adding to his two Grand Slam crowns by sharpening his attacking strategy.

"By the end of last year Andy's game lacked a bit of identity," Henman said.

"How was he going to win? He just lacked that edge.

"But then you look at how he came out in Australia after the off-season, he was so proactive and looking to dictate and for me the six months of this year is as good as I've ever seen him play.

"It's a game plan: if you don't have an identity you don't have a game plan, the way you want to play, you've got no chance.

"There's no point in simply reacting. You must have a clear strategy of course, and Andy has really honed his for this season.

"He's rebuilt his identity, and that's what's seen him put himself right back at the top of his game."

Murray will be expected to move easily enough past World No 59 Kukushkin, who was born in Russia but has represented Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup since 2008.

Kukushkin is coached by his wife Anastasia, like Murray numbering among the few top men's stars to have a female influence in their backroom staff.

Amelie Mauresmo was only just getting to grips with her role in Murray's set-up this time last year as he slipped out of SW19 at the quarter-final stage.

Fast-forward 12 months and Henman believes the pair have completely mastered their relationship, with the direct results being Murray's impressive on-court form.

Jonas Bjorkman is the latest addition to Murray's coaching staff, but Henman believes it is 2006 Wimbledon ladies champion Mauresmo who merits the most praise.

"Amelie deserves a lot of credit for helping him push right back and be better than ever," said Henman, who was speaking in association with the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic at The Hurlingham Club.

"When they started working together at Wimbledon last year they never had an opportunity to actually work on aspects of his game.

"They were always practising before a tournament, but with an extended time to work together on his game, the results are hugely impressive.

"He's won in Munich and Madrid on clay, reached the semis of the French Open, won again at Queen's, he's got married, he's in a great place in his career and his life.

"And he's just got to keep doing what he has been doing now, it's just more of the same going forward - he doesn't need to change anything."

Belfast Telegraph

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