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Laura Robson will pass Heather Watson in long run, says John McEnroe

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John McEnroe says that Heather Watson, given her physical stature, "should idolise David Ferrer" and aim to become "a real hustler or battler". The veteran American, speaking after beating Britain's Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall today, said that in reaching the world's top 50 Watson had "already done well, considering how difficult it will be for someone of her size".

McEnroe, nevertheless, believes Laura Robson is an even better long-term prospect, having been particularly impressed by the 18-year-old Briton's run at the US Open, where she beat two Grand Slam champions in Kim Clijsters and Li Na en route to the fourth round.

"She has got a lot of ability and clearly, if she gets herself fully committed and in tip-top shape, I think she could easily be top 10," McEnroe said. "I think she could be really dangerous. She is a natural tennis player, but she is going to have to be like a [Tomas] Berdych in the men's game – big and powerful. He has got himself into the best shape of his life. Or like [Dinara] Safina – someone who worked at it extremely hard to get herself as fit as possible. She is as natural a talent as anyone out there."

As for Andy Murray, McEnroe said the US Open and Olympic champion had had "a great year, by far the best he's ever had", which could have been even better but for some disappointments in the last two months of the season. "If he got one major next year I think that would still be a good year for him," McEnroe said. "It's not easy winning these things.

"Not that he needs to take my advice, but the next time he wins a major it would be nice if he looked a little bit more excited. He was probably relieved more than anything else."