Andy Murray heads into his opening match at the Paris Masters backed by a ringing endorsement by the world's leading player. The Scot, bidding to win his third straight tournament as well as his third Masters Series title on the bounce, takes on American Sam Querrey in the second round in Bercy today.
Such is his form and confidence at the moment, few would bet against Murray ripping through a world-class field in the French capital to make another statement of intent ahead of 2009, when a grand slam title will definitely be on his to-do list.
Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard who achieved the impossible and knocked Roger Federer off the top of the world rankings this year, has labelled Murray a "complete" player. When asked by French daily L'Equipe which player had impressed him most in 2008, Nadal responded: "Murray. He has just proved in these last few months that he can win the big tournaments, whoever is in his way. He is a massive talent, with a complete game and both an aggressive shot and a containing shot. He makes it all look so easy."
Murray has claimed successive Masters Series crowns, in Cincinnati and Madrid, but may have to beat Nadal and world No 2 Federer in Paris this week if he is to complete a stunning hat-trick.
After Paris, Murray has the season-ending Masters Cup, a tournament for which he has qualified for the first time, in Shanghai to look forward to.
Given the form Murray is showing, Querrey should not pose too many problems, although the world number 41 from Santa Monica has enjoyed a career-best year, winning in Las Vegas and reaching the semi-finals in Delray Beach and Indianapolis.