Henman tips Murray for final

Tim Henman (pictured) believes British number one Andy Murray is 'a better player than he ever was'

Tim Henman (pictured) believes British number one Andy Murray is 'a better player than he ever was'

First published in National Sport © by

Tim Henman is backing Andy Murray to shake his Wimbledon semi-final losing habit when he tackles Jo-Wilfried Tsonga later on Friday.

Henman lost in four semi-finals at the All England Club, twice to Pete Sampras and then to Goran Ivanisevic and Lleyton Hewitt. So far Murray has absorbed the blows of last-four losses to Andy Roddick and, on two occasions, to Rafael Nadal.

Now working for the BBC, Henman believes the time is right for Murray to become the first Briton since Bunny Austin in 1938 to reach a Wimbledon men's singles final. Henman said: "I have really enjoyed watching these scenarios unfold, having been through this process myself. I do think he is better equipped to go further, because he is a better player than I ever was."

Henman, quoted in the Guardian, is particularly pleased to see Murray having achieved so much in this Wimbledon campaign, given the many forecasts that he would struggle, with form and a tough draw seeming to threaten his chances.

"It is great to see him playing so well at the right time because there was obviously a lot of chat beforehand about his back and his loss of form, losing in the first round at Queen's," Henman said.

Unlike Henman, Murray has experience of grand slam finals, having reached two in Australia and one in the United States. The Wimbledon breakthrough has yet to come, though, with Britain not having had a winner of the men's title since Fred Perry in 1936.

Murray would surely echo the words of Henman, who said: "I've heard Fred Perry and Bunny Austin talked about for long enough, and I'd be pretty happy for that conversation to end."

In the final moments before he walks on court, Murray can expect a visit from Henman, who would be all too enthused to see the 25-year-old journey one step further than he could manage at Wimbledon.

Henman said: "I will go and see him beforehand and wish him good luck. I have chatted to him a bit. But he has his team around him and I speak to him as a friend, not someone wanting to give input."

He added: "There are so many opinions coming in, and the last thing you want is another one."

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