French Open: Murray looking to emulate Henman at Roland Garros
As Andy Murray prepares for another assault on the French Open, he will be hoping to go at least one better than last year, when he reached the semi-finals, and make a first appearance in the tournament’s final.
He is 10/1 with Coral to win the crown, which would stand him in good stead going into Wimbledon. However, in the run-up to the event in Paris, when asked which player he will be trying to emulate the most, his answer may have been somewhat of a surprise.
“One of the things Jonas [Murray’s new coach] said to me was that on the clay, he always preferred to play guys that loved playing on the clay,” said Murray.
“Tim [Henman] was the same. He used to love coming into the net or drop-shotting or coming in behind the drop shots, using the short slice, and just playing a different game style which they found difficult to deal with.”
Murray is odds-on at 1/100 to beat Argentine opponent Facundo Arguello, and although his role model, Henman might have been a grass court specialist, though he did excel one particular year at Roland Garros in 2004 when he surged through to the semi-finals.
All of a sudden, Murray’s confidence on clay has dramatically increased, after two ATP Tour victories. Beating, arguably the ‘king of clay’ Rafael Nadal in Madrid over two sets was right up there in one of the best showings from the 28-year-old in recent times, which added to his win on clay in Munich.
“The last few weeks have helped build my belief and confidence on clay,” said Murray.
“There are things in his game which I felt like I used to do and maybe got a little bit away from. He used to be very aggressive on the second-serve return.
“Just before I started with Jonas, I was saying to him that was something I wanted to get back into doing, putting pressure on my opponents in that way.
“He was also pretty competent up at the net. You can hit loads of volleys, but it’s important to know where your opponent is on the court and make the right decision: when you come forward, what volleys to hit, when to go back in behind them, when to hit into the open space, when to use the drop volley. He has good understanding of all that.”
Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic is odds-on at 1/200 to beat Jarkko Nieminen, while last year’s winner Nadal is 1/100 to conquer against Halys, Quentin. In the women’s, meanwhile, Venus Williams is 4/7 to overcome Sloane Stephens, her sister Serena is 1/33 to beat Andrea Hlavackova, and British hope Heather Watson is 1/3 to progress against Mathilde Johansson.