Shots fired at Mur­ray

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SPORT -

ROGER Fed­erer, em­ploy­ing all the ver­bal dex­ter­ity he brings to any dis­cus­sion on ten­nis, last week lent his voice to the sug­ges­tion that Andy Mur­ray’s reign at No1 in the world is un­der se­ri­ous threat for the rest of the sum­mer.

“Andy was tired af­ter get­ting to No1 at the end of last year and then has been strug­gling with in­juries,” the 35-year-old Swiss said.

Fed­erer, who is re­turn­ing af­ter tak­ing 11 weeks off the Tour to pre­pare for his pur­suit of an eighth ti­tle at Wim­ble­don, added: “I think the sec­ond part of the sea­son will be re­ally cru­cial for Andy, and No­vak [Djokovic] as well.

“I think the sec­ond half of the sea­son is go­ing to be re­ally, re­ally in­ter­est­ing.”

Fed­erer, Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Mur­ray have al­lowed only oc­ca­sional chal­lenges to their hege­mony for more than a decade.

Now there is in­sur­rec­tion in the air be­fore Wim­ble­don: fans have de­serted Mur­ray, the de­fend­ing cham­pion, to back Fed­erer into 5-2 favouritism, ac­cord­ing to Lad­brokes.

If he wins a ninth ti­tle in Halle, he will edge up to a num­ber three at Wim­ble­don.

At Queen’s Club last week, the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of Mur­ray and Stan Wawrinka, who re­fuses com­par­i­son with the sup­posed big four de­spite reach­ing his fourth slam fi­nal at Roland Gar­ros was painful, for them and their sup­port­ers.

Mur­ray, the five-time cham­pion, lost to Jor­dan Thompson a young Aus­tralian hus­tler ranked 90th in the world, while Wawrinka went out in two sets to Feli­ciano López.

Nei­ther of them was as poor as Djokovic at Roland Gar­ros but they were plainly frus­trated in their prepa­ra­tion for Wim­ble­don.

Djokovic, who plays East­bourne this week, a rare warm-up on grass be­fore the cham­pi­onships at the All Eng­land Club, is prob­a­bly in deeper trou­ble af­ter his melt­down in Paris against Do­minic Thiem.

Nadal, who beat Wawrinka there for his Dec­ima, with­drew from tour­na­ments to safe­guard his knees.

Un­cer­tainty has gripped the game again, which will lend Wim­ble­don added edge when the first ball is struck on 3 July.

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