Confident Murray can conquer clay at Roland Garros
Scot in form as French Open begins
For the last eight years Andy Murray has been a serious contender at every Grand Slam he has entered. In that time he has reached five Australian Open finals, plus two apiece at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Yet there are just two major titles to his name, something that the Scot is desperate to address. And despite never having reached the final at the French Open, he is finally showing signs that he can conquer the clay courts of Roland Garros.
Since the European claycourt season began in midApril, Murray has an 85 per cent win ratio - better than anyone else on the surface.
In Monte Carlo he reached the semi-finals while in Madrid he was beaten in the final by old foe Novak Djokovic. He then gained revenge over the world No. 1 in Rome as he claimed the title. It was the first time Murray had ever beaten the Serb on clay and it was a welcome boost ahead of the second slam of the year.
“Any time you get wins against the best players it’s big, not so much for them but more for me to have that belief and confidence when I go on court against them that I can win,” said Murray.
“I’d never beaten Novak on clay, although we’d had some very close matches in the past. I managed to get over the line in Rome and then with Rafa, I’ve beaten him a couple of years in a row and had some good practices with him as well.
“I don’t know if this is my best chance, it’s always difficult to say, but I’m coming in playing as well as I did last year if not better. And I’m on the opposite side of the draw to Novak, so we’ll see what happens.”
Ultimately this could be the most telling factor for Murray. With no Roger Federer and last year’s winner Stan Wawrinka struggling to find his best form, Murray should have few problems on his side of the draw.
What he may need, however, is a bit of luck. Federer lost in three straight French Open finals to Nadal before finally winning the title by sweeping aside Robin Soderling in the 2009 final.
If Murray can avoid Djokovic in the final he is almost certain to win. And even if it is the 14-time major champion, he has the belief that he can triumph.
It may just be Murray’s year.