KNOKKE-HEIST, Belgium, Aug 21 AAP – Former tennis greats Mats Wilander and Goran Ivanisevic both believe Andy Murray will end his long wait for a first grand-slam title by winning the US Open starting next week in New York.
Speaking while promoting a Masters veterans’ event at London’s Royal Albert Hall in December, the pair first will watch their pick for the US Open title with interest.
Wilander, a winner at Flushing Meadows 24 years ago, has no doubts.
“My prediction for the US Open is Andy Murray winning,” he said. “I’m not saying that just because he won the Olympics.
“It’s because I think that he’s a different man. I think that Ivan Lendl has helped him tremendously. He’s becoming better physically all the time, he hits his forehand better, but the biggest difference is emotionally. He’s more even-keeled, he’s more positive and there’s not as much pressure for him at the US Open as there is at Wimbledon.”
The Swede also added that the conditions in the Big Apple suit Murray perfectly.
“The hardcourts in New York are a little quicker than in Australia, which suit him,” said Wilander.
“I do think Andy Murray is one-up against Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic after the Olympics – he knows that he can beat them back-to-back now.
“I think five-set matches, with the attitude he has now, are going to favour him and, when he plays well with a good attitude, he is at least as good a player as the other top three.
“Taking Rafael Nadal out, that might mean that he only has to beat one of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer along the way and that’s going to make it easier.
“So my prediction is Andy Murray winning in the finals against either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.”
Ivanisevic believes that even if Nadal had not suffered the knee injury which forced him out, Murray would still go all the way.
“I don’t think it matters that Rafael Nadal has pulled out,” said Ivanisevic. “I think Andy is ready, with or without him. He has beaten Rafa before anyway. If Andy plays well, he can win it.
“I would really like to see him win it – he deserves it. He played a really great Olympic Games and I think this will give him extra motivation and confidence. The US Open is his best surface so I think he will do it.”
Joining Ivanisevic and Wilander at Royal Albert Hall from December 5-9 will be Australians Mark Philippoussis and Pat Cash, John McEnroe, Tim Henman and Henri Leconte.