Mur­ray can be proud of achieve­ments — Fed­erer

Business Day - - SPORT - Agency Staff Mel­bourne

Roger Fed­erer says he is shocked that ten­nis is to lose “leg­end” Andy Mur­ray and the Scot should be proud of all that he has achieved.

Mur­ray tear­fully de­clared on Fri­day that his chronic hip in­jury has not been eased by surgery a year ago.

He then emo­tion­ally re­vealed that he hopes to end his sto­ried ca­reer at Wim­ble­don, but ad­mit­ted the Aus­tralian Open may be his last event be­cause the con­stant pain is so bad.

“I was dis­ap­pointed and sad, a lit­tle bit shocked, to know now that we’re go­ing to lose him at some point,” Fed­erer said.

“But we’re go­ing to lose ev­ery­body at some point. It’s just now that it’s def­i­nite,” he added, ac­knowl­edg­ing that the era of the “Big Four ”— him­self, No­vak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Mur­ray is draw­ing to a close.

“Of course, it hits us top guys hard be­cause we know Andy very well.

“We like him. He doesn’t have many en­e­mies, to be quite hon­est,” the world No 3 said of the three-time Grand Slam cham­pion and dou­ble Olympic gold medal win­ner.

“He’s a good guy, Hall of Famer, leg­end. He won ev­ery­thing he wanted to win.

“Any­body would sub­sti­tute their ca­reer with his. He’s a great guy,” Fed­erer said.

Mur­ray has won Wim­ble­don twice and Fed­erer hoped the Scot could keep play­ing long enough to be able to say good­bye there.

“Of course, I hope that he can play a good Aus­tralian Open and he can keep play­ing be­yond that, re­ally fin­ish the way he wants to at Wim­ble­don. That’s what I hope for him,” said Fed­erer, who be­gins his Aus­tralian Open ti­tle de­fence on Mon­day against De­nis Is­tomin.

“It’s a tough one, but once down the road he can look back on and be in­cred­i­bly proud of ev­ery­thing he has achieved.”

Mur­ray was the first British man to win Wim­ble­don in 77 years and will be re­mem­bered for bat­tling his way to world No 1 in 2016.

Ser­ena Wil­liams is ready to win her first Grand Slam ti­tle as a mother, hav­ing ar­rived at the Aus­tralian Open in her best con­di­tion since com­ing back from ma­ter­nity leave, ac­cord­ing to her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.

French­man Mouratoglou, who has guided Wil­liams to the last 10 of her 23 Grand Slam ti­tles, felt the Amer­i­can great was in “de­cent shape” when she reached the 2018 fi­nals at Wim­ble­don and the US Open.

How­ever, her fit­ness had since gone up a notch and Mar­garet Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tles may well be in peril at Mel­bourne Park, he said.

“It was a big deal. She had a lot of med­i­cal is­sues after the de­liv­ery but she def­i­nitely was not 100%.

“She reached two Grand Slam fi­nals. She was fit. I am know­ing her now for a few years so I knew she could be much fit­ter but it’s just a ques­tion of time,” Mouratoglou said.

“And I think she’s fit­ter now. You can see it, it’s quite ob­vi­ous when you see her on the court, how she moves.

“She’s ready to com­pete and when Ser­ena’s ready to com­pete, she’s ready to win.”

While two months preg­nant, Wil­liams claimed a record sev­enth Aus­tralian Open ti­tle in the pro­fes­sional era in 2017 but missed out on her ti­tle de­fence while on ma­ter­nity leave.

She re­turned to the tour at In­dian Wells in 2018 and had a roller-coaster sea­son, forced to pull out of the French Open fourth round with a pec­toral mus­cle in­jury and was later beaten by An­gelique Ker­ber in the fi­nal at Wim­ble­don.

She then re­vealed a per­sonal bat­tle with post­par­tum de­pres­sion be­fore clos­ing her sea­son in dis­ap­point­ment and ac­ri­mony, with a loss to Naomi Osaka in a US Open fi­nal marred by a huge row with the chair um­pire Car­los Ramos.

Seeded 16th in Mel­bourne, Wil­liams warmed up for 2019’s first Grand Slam by win­ning all three of her sin­gles matches at the Hop­man Cup in Perth.

She plays un­seeded Ger­man Tat­jana Maria in her first round match on Tues­day.

Wil­liams has a tough road to an eighth ti­tle, with world No 1 and French Open cham­pion Si­mona Halep a po­ten­tial quar­ter­fi­nal op­po­nent, fol­lowed by Osaka in the semi­fi­nals if the seeds hold sway.

Mouratoglou said seed­ings and rank­ings would mean lit­tle if Ser­ena brought her best form.

“Of course, she’s not No 1 in the world, and I have a lot of re­spect for the No 1 but I still feel that if Ser­ena plays her ten­nis and she’s her­self 100%, I still think she’s the best.

“But she has to show it now,” he said.

“We’ll do ev­ery­thing for it to hap­pen this year.”

/Reuters

Su­perb form: Ser­ena Wil­liams un­der the watch­ful eye of coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who says she is fit.

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