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Murray on road to top form

19 June 2017 National Sport


Last Updated: 19/06/17 8:17pm

Andy Murray admits grass courts feel more 'natural' to him

Andy Murray admits grass courts feel more ‘natural’ to him

Andy Murray believes he is on the road to recovering top form as the British No 1 begins his hunt for a record sixth title at the Aegon Championships on Tuesday.

Murray opens up against British number four Aljaz Bedene at Queen’s Club, where he is hoping to reclaim the trophy he won last year and find rhythm ahead of the start of Wimbledon on July 3.

The 30-year-old has endured a disappointing year by his own high standards, losing eight of his 29 singles matches and five of those to opponents ranked outside the top 20.

Andy Murray has been preparing to defend his Wimbledon title with the help of world heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua

But, with coach Ivan Lendl back by his side, there was room for encouragement at the French Open last month, where he reached the semi-finals before succumbing over five sets to Stan Wawrinka.

“Obviously I am playing better now than I was before the French,” Murray said. “In practice, I am hitting the ball a lot better than I was before the start of the tournament there but there are still a lot of things I felt could be better in Paris.

“I was a lot closer to where I wanted to be but still far from where I wanted to be playing, so that is why I got back onto the practice courts so soon, to work on some things.

“This surface is a little bit more natural for me, which helps, but I have had to practice a lot this week.”

Murray took only two days off following his exit at Roland Garros and by last Monday was already out hitting again on his favoured surface of grass.

He remains world number one but stands as most observers’ second favourite to win Wimbledon behind Roger Federer, who clinched his 18th grand slam title at the Australian Open in January, but not Bedene.

“I would say Andy is favourite,” Bedene said. “Obviously Queen’s is the second biggest tournament on grass, and it’s a good preparation for Wimbledon.

“He has great movement, great returns, he is always fighting, putting every ball back. He’s just awkward to play.

“He’s giving his best on every surface but if you give every return back on grass, that’s great.”

Slovenia-born Bedene, who is ranked 54th in the world, faced Murray in the second round at Queen’s last year and lost 6-3 6-4.

The 27-year-old may be further along in his adaptation to grass, however, having played three matches at the Ricoh Open in Holland last week, while Murray is set for his first competitive outing on the faster surface.

“I don’t think there is a good day to play Andy. He’s always going to be dangerous,” Bedene said.

“I think probably his best surface is grass. I don’t think he lost last year and he lost one match the year before so it’s a good record. I think he’s going to be strong here and at Wimbledon.”


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