John McEnroe thinks "the time is right" for Andy Murray to win his first Grand Slam tournament. The former Wimbledon champion, who will be part of the BBC's commentary team at the All England Club, believes the 22-year-old Scot now has both the physical and the mental strength needed to win at the highest level.
McEnroe reckons Murray struck major psychological blows with his four successive victories over Roger Federer since last year's US Open final, while his improved strength would help to avoid a repeat of his straight-sets defeat by Rafael Nadal in last year's quarter-finals.
"He needed to get stronger, needed to hang in with Nadal," McEnroe said. "That was the ultimate test and it showed him what he needed to do – and he has done it. His legs are thicker than I have seen them, his bounce around the back of the court is impressive and he's intimidating people with his fitness, which was an issue early in his career. His movement is amazing when you think how tall he is.
"The cat-and-mouse style he plays is something I like to see. It's a thinking man's game and he has got in Roger's head right now. [Novak] Djokovic is someone a couple of years ago you would have said is stronger than Andy, but that has shifted. You can see he has got more pop on his serve and he continues to befuddle guys mentally."
McEnroe pointed out that he was 22 – Murray's age – when he won Wimbledon for the first time in 1981. He thought he might have won two years previously but admitted: "The pressure got to me. The next year I felt like I got it together, though again I felt a lot of pressure. I allowed Bjorn Borg into the final. I should have won that match in straight sets."
What more does McEnroe think Murray has to do to win at the very highest level? "I think the time is right here," he said. "He's got some of the best hands I have ever seen on the court, so he has to take advantage of that. I think he is playing just the way he wants to play. Guys don't change their game so much when they move to grass. They don't have to because there are very few guys out there for whom they have to alter their game. It's more about in your head when it comes down to it – belief, willpower and executing at the right moment."
McEnroe thinks Federer could be a different proposition for Murray on grass, though he believes the Swiss's defeat by Nadal last year was significant. "Roger seemed pretty unbeatable there for a while, but now there is that little chink in the armour."Reuse content