Historic challenge faces Murray at US Open
ANDY Murray will have the weight of history, both ancient and modern, against him when he begins his bid for US Open glory at Flushing Meadows next week.
No British man has won a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry at the US Open in 1936, with Murray losing in the final to Roger Federer in New York in 2008 and at the Australian Open this year.
And the 23-year-old Scot will have to become only the fourth man in the last six years to disrupt the dominance of Federer and world number one Rafael Nadal if he is to end Britain's 74year wait for a Grand Slam champion on 12 September.
Of the last 23 Grand Slams – from 2005 to the current day – the only players besides Federer and Nadal to win one of the sport's four biggest titles are Marat Safin (Australian Open 2005), Novak Djokovic (Australian Open 2008) and Juan Martin Del Potro (US Open 2009).
this year Federer claimed his 16th Grand Slam title in Australia, while Nadal lifted his seventh and eighth at the French Open and Wimbledon.
But Murray can now boast back-to-back victories over Nadal and Federer in the same tournament after successfully defending his title in toronto recently, and his former coach Mark Petchey believes the world number four is ideally placed to claim his first major title.
“For sure he can do it,” said Petchey. “He’s very happy with how things are at the minute, he’s taken control of his tennis [having parted company with coach Miles Maclagan] and is making the decisions.
“therefore that makes life a little simpler, with less frustration and antagonism. At the moment he is remarkably relaxed about his preparation coming in here.
“I think he’s confident. He loves this surface, loves this tournament, and all those things blend well for him to make a good run.
“I think his draw looks pretty good, he should hopefully get through the first few matches without too much difficulty and save himself for the bigger tests ahead. I think he’s in the right section of the draw – being in Rafa’s half is the better half to be in.”
Murray will be quietly confident with the early stages of the draw, which pits him against Slovakia’s world No 72 Lukas Lacko in the first round before a meeting with either Dustin Brown or Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.
But it will get tougher for Murray from the last eight onwards, where he is scheduled to meet Wimbledon finalist tomas Berdych, who beat him in straight sets in the French Open this year, followed by top seed Nadal.
Nadal starts against Russian teymuraz Gabashvili, and looks unlikely to draw sweat until a quarter-final meeting with Spanish compatriot Fernando verdasco.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Federer starts against Argentina’s Brian Dabul, but is then likely to have to beat Lleyton Hewitt and Robin Soderling to reach the last four..
andy Murray: ‘taken control’