Nick Bollettieri: Five reasons why this might just be Andy's turn to celebrate


1. He's mentally tough again

When Andy Murray lost the Australian Open final to Roger Federer in January, his game fell to pieces. The circumstances were clearly hard for him emotionally. The consequence? He simply couldn't buy a decent run of form.

The mental and physical drain clearly affected his game. This was, after all, the second time Murray had lost to Federer in a Grand Slam final, the first being at the US Open in 2008. And at the start of this year, there were upsets in his personal life to consider.

We don't and can't know how badly these things hurt him, but the point is this: the fall in form was a blip. On the evidence of the five matches he has played so far this fortnight, that blip is over. Murray did not become a bad player in a few short months, and we've seen in his performances – he's still the same tremendously talented player who reached those US Open and Aussie Open finals.

His serve is still getting better, he's the best returner in the world, he's strong and athletic and moves well, he's got soft hands and a creative brain and he's a fighter. Murray displayed all those assets in reaching that Australian Open final, and he's still got them. He suffered through that loss, but maybe, just maybe, with other areas of his life ticking along again smoothly, he's out of the slump and stronger.



2. He's still fresh

Let's just say that the draw Murray was handed probably couldn't have been any better for him. That is not meant as a statement to disrespect any of the five players he's beaten to reach the semi-finals, but judged on rankings and on history and, yes, natural talent, Murray always should have been confident of beating Jan Hajek, Jarkko Nieminen, Gilles Simon, Sam Querrey and

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. And he did, winning against the first four without dropping a set, and then winning in four – and eventually at a canter – against the physical force of Tsonga yesterday.

If he can beat Nadal – and that's an "if" – then there will be a Federer-less final ahead. He will know this is a great opportunity.



3. The World Cup bounce

The England football team has done Murray a favour, as the World Cup in general. The huge focus on South Africa has, to some extent, allowed Murray to fly under the radar. The weight of the nation's expectations has been on Fabio Capello and his players, and now the force of a nation's unfulfilled hopes are being sent in their direction.

Can that really affect the tennis world? In Murray's case, yes it can. But the salient point is that Andy Murray has not had the white-hot light of attention on him for the past month or so, as he might in a summer when there is no a major football tournament to deflect the burden of expectation. And while he's still had to deal with a lot of attention, of course, any less is good news. Less pressure. Less stress. These things matter. He should send Mr Capello a nice thank-you note.



4. The timing is right

Over the last six years, since Murray won the junior US Open, the expectations were incredibly high. Unrealistically high? Looking back, you'd say so. Now his natural progression as a player has caught up, and overtaken the expected level. Now Murray is charging ahead. Can he beat Nadal? Well, he can, though that doesn't mean he'll start as favourite. But this is a good time for Murray.



5. Federer is out

I don't want to bang this drum too much, but I did say on day one of this tournament that it was the most wide-open Wimbledon I've ever known. Roger Federer's exit yesterday proved the vulnerability was indeed there for a man who has been so incredibly strong for so long.

Rafa Nadal is a massive danger for Murray, of course. But there was never a clear-cut favourite for the men's title, and therefore neither was there any one player in the draw who Murray would really not want to face. Murray has to stay positive and remember that.

Nick Bollettieri is one of the world's leading tennis coaches as well as a regular 'Independent' columnist during Wimbledon

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks