McEnroe: 'Murray will win a Slam – but not this year's Wimbledon'

American great says that the Briton's best chance comes at next year's US Open

John McEnroe says it is only a matter of time before Andy Murray wins his first Grand Slam title – but he may have to wait before making his breakthrough. "I'm taking the pressure off him," McEnroe said when asked to predict when the 23-year-old Scot would win his first major crown. "If I had a guess, I would say it will come next year at the US Open."

The American, who will be commentating for the BBC when Wimbledon begins next Monday, is a big admirer of Murray and sees something of himself in the world No 4. He also has sympathy with anyone competing in an era dominated by two of the game's greats: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have won 19 of the last 21 Grand Slam tournaments.

"Nadal appears poised to win the French Open a few more times and Roger's winning pretty much everything else," McEnroe said. "Everyone is saying: 'Who else is going to win?' Someone else sooner or later is going to win some of these tournaments. There's not a whole lot of guys who can actually win, so I'm thinking that for some of these guys it's going to happen for them. It's got to happen."

McEnroe, who puts Murray among the first rank of Grand Slam contenders, believes that modern-day fitness and training methods will give players the chance to remain competitive for years to come. He gave the example of Andy Roddick, who came closest to winning Wimbledon last summer at the age of 27.

Having won his own first Grand Slam title when he was 20, McEnroe said: "I'm glad that I don't have to go through it now. I can totally relate to what Andy Murray's going through. He's got more pressure in a way, because he hasn't broken through yet. I sort of took it for granted. I was like: 'Of course I've got to win a major.' I was 20 years old. Now all of a sudden it gets a lot more difficult."

He added: "There is more anxiety in Andy's case because everyone in Britain wants it so badly. He's been going through this for years already. You have a legitimate contender. Each year it grows and it gets that much worse. You would suspect if he gets through the first hurdle he could win another couple fairly quickly. But the first will be the sweetest."

McEnroe believes that Murray's recent indifferent form may be a legacy of his disappointment at not beating Federer in this year's Australian Open final, having also lost to the Swiss in his first Grand Slam final in 2008 at the US Open.

"The first time you could say it was a first-time experience and that you are going to learn from it, but it didn't seem like he learnt that much, so that probably hit him very hard," McEnroe said. "I was surprised that he didn't have more intensity. Even when he was 5-2 up in the third he seemed to be somewhat negative. I had the feeling if he had won that, he would have lost in four sets."

McEnroe believes hard courts give Murray his best chance and so was disappointed with the straight-sets defeat by Marin Cilic in last year's US Open fourth round, when he suspects the Scot may have over-trained.

"He seemed to be spent, mentally and physically," McEnroe said. "He does a lot of stuff and the routine got him to No 2 in the world, so you're very hesitant to make an adjustment, but what happened against Cilic? It felt like he had nothing left."

The American would also like to see Murray slow his first serve down, to achieve greater consistency, and agrees with those who say he should on occasions play more aggressively.

"Recently I've been hearing that he has been practising stepping in from the baseline, à la [Nikolay] Davydenko, practising with buckets of balls, stepping inside the baseline and being more aggressive. I think he probably recognises he has to do that because he does have a tendency to become a bit passive. Because he moves so well he can counter-attack."

Wimbledon coverage will be available on BBC HD, BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Red Button, BBC Mobile and BBC iPlayer

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'